Living in Prague as a missionary was a dream. It was emotionally and physically difficult but at the same time it was a dream. Although others may argue, I believe that Prague is the most beautiful city in Europe. And for six months, I was able to live and work there. Granted, most of my work took place away from the center of the city where the most breathtaking sights were held, but the feeling that Prague brings -the beauty it brings to your soul- does not leave you.
One Sunday morning, my missionary companion and I rushed to the tram stop an hour before church began so that we could make the trek to our meeting house. Sundays were slow transportation days and if you didn’t catch the first tram, there was no hope of being on time. We climbed on the first in a series of trams we would take to reach our destination. As we plopped down in the empty car, I looked through my hazy eyes to see that the clock was an hour early. No, we were an hour early. We did not remember to change our clocks. We somehow forgot that we could have had an extra hour of sleep which was very precious to the over-tired missionary.
We seemed to be of one mind when we discovered we had that extra hour. Almost without any discussion, we stepped off the tram near Charles Bridge and took an hour-long walk through the city to our church building. It was early in the morning, before any tourists were out and before any club mixes blared from stores. As an added bonus, it was Sunday where most people were either sleeping in or hung over. Times like this were rare in such a noisy metropolis. The beauty of the city was only magnified by the calm that blanketed our surroundings. We walked across the bridge and the Vltava river. We walked through Mala Strana and up to Prague Castle. From there, we walked to our building. We reached the same destination. The difference that Sunday morning was that we used the extra hour to walk and absorb our surroundings, traveling on foot rather than sitting on a tram watching everything from the window.
Life doesn’t always work out on our timeline. We are anxious and we are impatient. We are planners. We are scheduled. But sometimes, we are given an extra hour. An hour that isn’t missing, it’s a bonus. So as I’ve grown ever-impatient in my life, I remember my extra hour in Prague and am reminded that the destination was the same, but I was all the happier for having walked a mile in a magical city.