God speaks to me in airports

>> Monday, September 28, 2009

We arrived at the Charlotte airport Wednesday just before noon, in plenty of time to catch our 2:30 flight to Chicago. I love experiencing the process of air travel and would choose it over road tripping any time finances allowed. I may, in fact, be slightly insane, but I think I'm okay with that.

Airports are enormous structures, thousands of people in a hurry; most of them angry because they're late or their liquid toiletries just missed the 3 oz. bottle limit, others of them seething inside because their job is to take away those toiletries with a happy face, as though they're teachers scoldingly taking away a six year old's toy during assembly, except that everyone realizes that the traveler simply wants to wash his hair at the end of the day. Then there's the running, and the gate changes, and the delays, and the waiting, and the $12 hamburgers, and the obnoxiousness found in all the people cramming into seats around you for an overbooked flight.

The thing of it is that as soon as I step through those CAUTION: AUTOMATIC DOORS with my luggage I no longer have to clean up cat vomit, or develop a paper on the inefficiencies of standardized testing in preschool, or worry about what's for dinner. I make a point to arrive early enough that I can saunter. For two or three hours I can snuggle into Lanse with a happy sigh while I watch the two 20somethings trying to jog down the hall with their hands in each other's pockets. I can grin at the four year old dressed top to bottom like an airline captain, his mother coaching him on how to speak nicely at the desk and hand the lady his ticket. I can cheerfully buy a bottle of water at the news stand and watch the haggard woman with very little English crack a smile after a long stream of grumbling customers. I can marvel at the beauty and the balance and artistic talent in the art on the slim woman's arm in the seat across the gate area. I can sympathize with the tired young mom and dad leading a trailing line of young children like goslings, each proudly pulling their own little tiny suitcase on wheels. I can watch and wonder at the lives of the tall woman in a party dress and stilettos running full-tilt to her gate trying not to break an ankle, or the nun standing in line to board for Cincinnati. And whether or not they're aware of it, God says, "These are mine".

I travel with my iPod Shuffle, a hand-me-down gift from my brother-in-law, because if I read or even focus on pictures while in motion I tend to get sick. Though I have no personal ideology against society's music, I happen to have my Shuffle packed with Christian music of varying genres. I leave my cares at the automatic door and have nothing else to focus on (except during the break when I learn that my nearest emergency exit is behind me), and all I can do is listen to the words. Through them God reminds me that He provides life and purpose, specifically for me, because He loves me, and I just can't sit still as the joy pours out. (Apologies to the woman sitting beside me trying to read!) Through the window I see the city getting smaller, and think of all the thousands of people down there and God whispers, "I am there, I know each one." We fly into a cloud gearing up for a storm and for a few long minutes there's only vaguely yellow nothingness; even the wing disappears for a moment. He says, "I'm here, too, in the nothingness." Then, suddenly, we break through and the sun is so bright that it's momentarily blinding. Blue sky fades into navy into dark as I look up. He directs my gaze down, to where there is a blanket of comforting whiteness between me and the world, and gives me images of beauty (beyond compare) and power (enough to create the weather) and love in the way He takes care of our need for rain and sun and growing things for life. Though this flight was in daytime, I traveled once at night and as we banked in a turn I looked out the window to gaze downward at a star. It is a truly stunning moment when you can imagine being above the stars. Even in the darkness He is not only there, but He put that star in the heavens for me to realize His greatness. He says, "This is who I am; look and see..." and I try to understand the kind of being who could make the clouds and the sunshine and the stars and the talents and ideas that let me soar in between them just so that I can know Him. That same being designed me, purely out of a desire to know and love me, exactly how He made me. I was thought up by the maker of stars and clouds and sunshine. And if stars and clouds and sunshine show who He is, how do I?

We're flying home on Wednesday, and I can't wait to see what He's going to show me. I pray that I remember to keep my eyes open.

2 comments:

Lucinda September 29, 2009 at 8:10 PM  

I also prefer flying over driving. I think the key is giving yourself enough time so that you don't get all frustrated and remembering that stuff happens and it's okay. I like to think I'm a good traveler.

By the way, I seem to remember 2 things about our England & Ireland trip. 1) You and I cross-stitched like crazy on the plane. 2) I recall giggling with you as the showed Titanic on the flight, because we both found the hand-on-the-steamy-window-sex-scene ridiculously silly.

Liz October 8, 2009 at 1:18 AM  

so did you learn anything, or just observe and enjoy anything, on your return flight?

BTW, it was wonderful having you here. The ease of hosting you is greatly amplified by knowing I don't have to impress you, and just hanging out is a valid and valued activity (or non-activity, as the case may be)...

About This Blog

Life is about changes; transitions from one place to another, from one purpose to another, from one being to another. They say that the person you are today is a completely different person from who you were ten years ago and who you'll be ten years from now. So far, at the age of 33, I've had four major transitions in my life which redefined who I am. Two years into the results of the most recent transition I am again - still - exploring how God is shaping me. Over the next few months I hope to review my past and set goals for the future, and embrace the next adventure of rediscovering me.
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