“I’m sorry. We aren’t able to get you home.”
I dropped my forehead on the American Airlines counter, squeezing my eyes shut, like I might be able to trap my tears behind closed lids.
It felt foolish to cry, and I was embarrassed by my pink emotions rocketing to the surface. But my plans had been rearranged, and all control appeared to now rest in the fast-typing fingers of a stoic-faced airline representative in Texas.
I couldn’t find my inner resolve. Dear God, give me peace.
I imagined my family in Iowa. My family, packing the malaria medication, and zipping up 50-pound suitcases, and saying night prayers in advance of our Thanksgiving trip to Haiti. I worried how I would be able to reconnect with my family in Texas or Florida before we flew to a third-world country. This much I knew: I wouldn’t be going to Iowa.
Over the weekend, I had been in Texas for a retreat at Laity Lodge with friends of The High Calling. The retreat ended Sunday, and I had planned to return home to Iowa in time to fly out the next day with my husband, the girls and my mother-in-law.
But the airline representative made it perfectly clear that was not going to happen. My flight had been canceled and there were no other flights home. She kept tapping on those keys.
I felt a hand on my back, and it was David. He was praying. Another friend, Jen, stood beside me and wrapped her arm around mine. This was community, koinonia as Pastor Mark Roberts had told us during worship that morning at Laity Lodge. And while my tearful release had now become a public spectacle in front of friends, I was grateful for this koinonia, God made flesh in an airport.
Before David left, he told me: “Worst case scenario: It all works out.”
Later, when I drifted off to sleep behind a Dallas hotel’s room-darkening shades, I thought about David’s words. They felt like another way of saying what Julian of Norwich once said: “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
This morning, I sit in a hotel room, waiting for my family. We will reunite at a gate in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport sometime this afternoon. And we will fly to Fort Lauderdale tonight. Together. Thank you Jesus.
My mom, “Mama D.”, texted me this morning with words of encouragement: “Happy Thanksgiving and Happy ThanksLiving, as a friend of mine used to say.”
Scott just texted, too. He says it’s all good. He says they’re at the gate in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Yes, they remembered the malaria medication. He found the Imodium by the sink. And he had already packed the sunscreen, which I had forgotten.
We can all breathe easy with the help of time and perspective … and Jesus.
No I didn’t get home. But home is headed here.
And together, we’re bringing home to Haiti.
“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
An update on #HomeForTheHolidays
In important ways, so many of you are going with us to Haiti this week. You’ve helped us bring a home to Haiti!
You have generously been a part of our fundraiser to build a house for Adeline in Haiti. And I’m excited to tell you that we are very close. In the last week, you have purchased thousands of dollars worth of ViBella Jewelry. You’ve shared the story on Facebook. You told about the #HomefortheHolidays projects in your Bunco groups and Bible studies and your own blog posts. And so many of you have prayed. A lot.
I have every reason to believe that God will pull together the $5,000 needed for this house by the time our family sees Adeline on Black Friday. I can’t wait to tell her what you’ve done!
This is what Thanksgiving and ThanksLiving is all about, people, and I am thanking God for each one of you.
God-willing, I’ll able to find some wireless down in Haiti to offer updates. You can follow along here, or on my Facebook page.
To be a part of the #HomeForTheHolidays miracle, click here.
“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”
~ 2 Corinthians 9:12
Update: My friend, Jen, just sent me this photo. She bumped into my family in the Sioux Falls airport. 🙂