He kept saying, “La puerta abierta del corazón”

October 22, 2007

This past week Wil came to visit.  It was the happiest week of my life for several reasons.  I saw the Prado, I saw Guernica, I got engaged, I figured out the train schedule, and I was smacked in the face by truth.

Wil’s flight left Saturday night, but I didn’t leave Madrid until Sunday morning around 8.  Basically from the time I left the airport things didn’t go well for me.  I took a taxi to the ATOCHA station, only to find it closing down, with no trains leaving for Sevilla.  I was just planning on sleeping there, but the cops kicked me out.  But before I left, this crippled old man came up and started talking to me in spanish.  At first I almost cringed and walked away, but I gave this old man a chance.  He was probably like 70 or 80, quite feeble and seeing as I was scared and stranded, I figured we could hang out and be good friends.  So being as he doesn’t have a home that I know of and he said he wanted to go find a cigarette, he and I went to an open cafe across the street.  So we were chillin and talking and drinking coffee and I would try to decipher his spanish mumblings.  He kept saying something about “la puerta abierta del corazon” which means “the open door of the heart”.  I think he was talking about a shelter that he sleeps at, but there were so many words lost in translation that I can’t say for sure.  We were doing fine talking and sipping coffee, but then all of a sudden he turned scitzophrenic.  He was intent on talking to whoever was next to him and didn’t talk to me again until I stood up to go.  So we were walking along the street when I decided, being 2 am and surrounded by shady figures in an unfamiliar part of town, I should go back and find a hotel room.  I said goodbye to my new friend and headed towards the center of town.

It was amazing and truly God’s mercy that the first hotel I got to had a room.  It cost me 75 €, but it was better than being out alone on the streets because it was freezing cold and I kept getting scary looks from people.  So I slept from about 2 am to 6 am and went back to the ATOCHA station, only to find out that I had no money left in my bank account (how the heck did that happen???).  I managed to scramble up about 45€, not enough for a train ticket.  This was the scariest part of my day.  Seeing as I was in Madrid, about 350 km from Sevilla, alone, without a lot of cash, and with no way to get a hold of anybody because anybody that could help me was either asleep or in another country.  From about 6 to 745 AM I peddled euros from passersby and then got some help from some guy that spoke half french and half spanish.  He found the metro that would take me to the bus station, where I got a ticket for about 18 € for a 6 hour bus ride to Sevilla.  I left Madrid at 8 and got to Sevilla at 230.


So needless to say, i was exhausted.  And the most incredulous thing was what happened on the bus ride home.  After all of this, after all my scrambling and praying that God would keep me safe and after all of His provisions for me, I just turned around and threw it back in His face.  There was a gypsy woman on the bus that, at one of the stops we made, asked me for a few euro so she could buy her son some water.  And what is so awful about it is the fact that I was so annoyed on the inside.  At first I pretended not to understand what she wanted, and then the state of my hypocrisy slapped me in the face.  After being completely humiliated having to ask for money at the ATOCHA, I turn away someone who is just like me, but worse, because she’s having to feed a child.  

And “la puerta abierta del corazon” kept repeating in my head.  The open door to others.  To open my heart to those who need help.  The mercy that God showed to me I should show to others.  I guess it’s a pretty simple lesson you learn in 3rd grade Sunday school, but I just learned it at 21 years in Madrid.

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One Response to “He kept saying, “La puerta abierta del corazón””

  1. Marcy Says:

    I’m glad the Lord protected you and I look forward to when He sends you back to us again.


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