Arashiyama! Immediately, it was on top of my wish list as soon as I found out I was going to tag along in Osaka. Yay! 🙂 I had missed it on prior trips so I got excited to do something new.
But as this particular trip unfolded, the beloved expressed more than three times that he heard it would be too hot to go there that time of year and that I shouldn’t go because it would be too uncomfortable to enjoy.
When my free day arrived, my mind started drifting back towards Arashiyama. Maybe others would feel hot but I don’t really feel hot; I’m from Manila where it gets even hotter… I could stay just very quickly and leave right after; I could do everything in three hours and still have the rest of the day to do whatever… My Japanese friend said it would be very easy to do from Osaka…
And then came a sweet memory sound byte from Deonna Tanchi: “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” My teacher, Jasmin’s, “Rebellion is sin.” And then Ptr. Peter’s, “If you are not following Jesus, you are not a follower of Christ.”
I started processing this situation remembering that when I leave word with my assistants at work (or at home), their faithfulness to do things in a way consistent with our agreement reinforces my trust in and appreciation of them. This reminded me of the chain of submission ultimately to Jesus but through the authorities He appointed in our lives.
Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.
It would be a matter of obedience to Jesus. No person will know if I went but God who sees everything will. To cap off the battle between flesh and spirit, He reminded me of what Ann Voskamp said in One Thousand Gifts: “The only place we have to come before we die is the place of seeing God.”
I realized I can live without seeing Arashiyama. What I don’t want to miss out on is being in the center of His will choosing Him over a tourist spot. (Waaah, it almost became another one of my Esau’s soup bowls.) Praise God He enabled me to move Arashiyama into His hands as part of my wish list (if He cares to fulfill it in His perfect timing).
Is it possible to have a fulfilling day even if I didn’t get to fulfill my number one wish?
I tried it out. Here’s my alternative trek:
UTSUBO PARK. This long rectangular park used to be a runway of the United States Army and now, it is a refreshing oasis in the middle of Osaka’s urban landscape.
OSAKA CASTLE: Just when I walked in to the castle grounds, the red Maxtrains tour cart came. It was a convenient and breezy ride to the entrance gate of the castle…
…with a stop at this beautiful photo vantage point: Because I was the only passenger on the way up, I was able to ask the driver to take my photo here.
Soon, I was back in the rhythm of my long ago and far away Philippine exchange student days (as an ambassador of goodwill and culture) making friends with people from China, Korea, Spain, Taiwan, and some whose home countries I didn’t get to ask. We took one another’s photos and I styled their photos for them, letting families get closer to each other and couples looking in each other’s eyes with a smile from different angles.
Then off I went to see the architecture of City Hall as recommended by the Concierge:
A quick brunch from Family Mart before a cozy afternoon siesta:
Post-siesta walk at DOTONBORI
A TV crew and performers were present for a little concert.
There was the cutest trio of young Japanese performers greeting fans.
Then off to HANKYU DEPT. STORE BASEMENT to check out their awesome selection of food from breads to what seemed like every imaginable dish, Japanese and international, cheese, wine, sweets, and even supermarket ingredients.
Then it was time to grab a late lunch:
Here you can also find Echire (French Butter) goodies. Must try the Butter Ice Cream and the Cream Puff. Try to come before 3pm as the Cream Puffs run out quickly.
And time to appreciate the beautifully etched sky at dusk:
In the end, even without Arashiyama, I still got the things I was hoping to experience there: saw some greens with fresh air, enjoyed the view, did something new. But with the bonus of a lot of cool breaks and a nearby comfortable siesta in the hot Osaka weather. Plus, I was spared from the stress of deciphering which train transfers to take because I just took the ready taxis in between.
Thank You, Lord for a full enjoyable day in comfort with the peace of mind that comes with following You. Thank You for using our authorities to lead us to Your better will.
Looking back at my alternative trek… Utsubo Park, formerly a US Army landing strip— a symbol of the coming and going of allied defense forces in preparation for war now an oasis of rest. The castle, a picture of a fortified dwelling, built by a ruler to protect the people inside from attack; Food, drink, and surprises along the way.
This reminded me of what the Bible refers to as the ongoing spiritual warfare, even the organized authorities in the heavenly realms. But our protection and victory is in putting on the full armor of God. One day, we will be free from the enemy’s schemes and attacks to steal, kill, and destroy; instead, we will have an oasis of rest with the King of Kings Himself who has given us the right to be His children…not to look at the castle but to dwell in it.
John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Today, we have His Word as spiritual food, His water that will become a spring welling up to eternal life. If there are times we have to forego the things we want, God has better surprises ahead.
1 Cor 2:9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him.