I’m writing this before I leave for Germany, but I’ll post this after I am home. Today I’m thinking about packing my bags and wondering what might happen in the airport. Many people fly internationally all the time, and with much greater frequency than I have – but as I am thinking about our upcoming trip to take part in a friend’s wedding in Leipzig, I started thinking of the last time I flew abroad. The last time we flew home from Germany (2006) there was a terror scare in London, and extra protections were installed in the Munich airport the morning of our departure. My mother and sister were with us, but had a connecting flight through Heathrow. Because of the scare that had happened there they were kept in the airport overnight. We didn’t have it quite so bad, yet everyone was on high alert. Extra screening and checkpoints, and what I refer to as a pen to herd us in like cattle kept the passengers of one flight separate from another. We were held for what felt like hours – water was sold in bags – because we could not visit any concessions without having to go through security again. There we were – vulnerable, isolated, and uncertain as to what was going on – we had no communication with the world outside our holding area.
I remembered landing in JFK and how good it heard to hear the words, “welcome home” as we went through customs. We had taken the train to my aunt’s in Milford where we met my in-laws and our kids. Our daughter walked to us – she had taken her first steps while we were away.
Much has changed in five years, but then again, much has not. I hope we are wiser as well as older. Kids are growing faster than ever. My in-laws were out from Wisconsin to watch the kids while we were gone again. We are still concerned about terror plots, and overdone security, and making it through customs. Five years ago I never even heard of New Canaan. Now I can’t imagine life without our little church on the hill, the faces and players that make it what it is, and the faith that enriches us along the way. For those who fly abroad on a regular basis, maybe this all sounds routine, but since I’ve done it only every five years or so – it makes we wonder where we will be in the next five – what things
will be accomplished, what people did we not know that have become close to our lives, what challenges and joys will concern us? In five years, our daughter will be 11. Our son will be 13. I’m sure I’ll have even less hair then. Maybe we’ll be off to Germany again and bring them with us. We’ll see.
As much as we think we are in the captain’s seat of our lives – so often we are not. Circumstances play out and we react to them – faithfully I hope. We make plans, we take trips, we grow older (and hopefully wiser) and we interact with people who come and go in our lives that change our relationships and give us meaning. Challenges come, and we are taken in directions sometimes unforeseen. Yet I believe – God guides us through them; helping us discern and navigate and make good choices. We do feel isolated and vulnerable sometimes. We are stronger together than alone. There is still a lot to do in this little church up on the hill. There are many opportunities to laugh and cry and grow together. Small steps can become big strides. I believe and trust they will. We’ll do it together. In the meantime, I am packing my bag for a brief time away: Euros, passport, suit, shirts, ties, extra socks, camera, charger, maps, guides, a notepad to write on, open mind and heart; thankfulness for you – penned up and ready to fly.
“The Lord will watch over your going out and coming in, from this time forth forevermore.” (Psalm 121:8)
Where is God leading you today?