Last week I was slated to get together with an acquaintance at a Cincinnati church. It’s where this particular person happened to be on that particular evening so we agreed I would meet her when she finished with her particular business in a back room of the Holy Building.
She gave me the church name & address and I ran a Mapquest search; the directions put it a few scant miles away from my parent’s home where I’m currently vacationing so I budgeted 20 minutes for driving there on the appointed evening at the appointed hour.
Mistake. I missed the meeting, missed the acquaintance and had to reschedule. And it happened because I live in Holy Land Central aka Israel, The Promised Land, God’s Monkey House . . .whatever.
Although I took the directions with me when I set out for my destination, I didn’t take the establishment name. Mistake. How many churches could there be? my Tel Aviv dwelling glib self thought. Because in Tel Aviv, non-Jewish places of worship are conveniently concentrated in Jaffa. So although the port city is somewhat of a navigational headache, it’s not so overflowing with praying spots as to render the area thoroughly confusing.
In the part of Ohio I happen to be visiting however, the setting is not quite the same. Some long and busy roads host multiple churches; they’re across the street, down the block, down the road and even next door to one other. The Methodists and Baptists and Catholics and Lutherans have laid claim to a whole lot of real estate in these parts so for someone who has fallen “out of practice” vis a vis churches as an everyday part of roadside scenery, it can get confusing.
I know: I live in the place where Christianity is rooted. But surprise surprise, it’s not a place rife with churches. At least not in Tel Aviv. Jerusalem and the Old City, that’s a different story. And even then…
Why didn’t I rely on the street number to find the spot? That was a head-scratcher too. The numbers descended and ascended in seemingly illogical order and the distances and gaps between buildings were broad. So when I got to 3300, passed 3500 then hit 50, I had no idea where to find my 2350 destination. I pulled into a Christian Funeral Home parking lot but. . well that did me little good. And no, I didn’t have my acquaintance’s cellphone number with me either.
A week later I set out with the name of destination in hand and I made it to the meeting sans incident. As we sat speaking I glanced up at a map on the wall. “The Holy Land”. . well well. Familiar terraine.