Put me in a car (preferably with Dave) on an open road with my suitcase in the trunk, a big plastic cup full of iced tea with a splash of lemonade, and B.B. King on the sound system—I’ll go anywhere. Happily. Joyfully even. Excited for the journey. Eager to see what we might see. But I don’t love air travel. There. You just heard the understatement of the year.
I don’t like watching the clock to make sure I leave in plenty of time to get a parking space and make it through security even if the line is long. I don’t like trying to memorize the exact location of my car so I’ll have a shot at finding it when I return. (I really should valet.) I don’t like feeling that I’m part of some anonymous herd, or that the people racing past me to make their connection in Atlanta would trample over me if it came to that. I don’t like tight spaces or turbulence or motion sickness (I’m a Dramamine flyer). The one part I do like is landing, which a pilot friend tells me is the sketchiest part of the whole process. I REALLY don’t like knowing that, after enduring all of the above, I saved myself at best 2 hours each way by flying instead of driving. And I didn’t get to see anything interesting on the way, unless you count the little TVs on the seatbacks of your bigger Delta aircraft. (Is it me, or do I sound the teensiest bit grumpy?)
By now, you’ve guessed it—I recently spent two days in planes, trams, and automobiles.
It stresses my parents out to know I’m in the air, so when I have to fly, I do what any good Christian daughter would do. I lie to them. This trip, I made it all the way from Birmingham to Atlanta to Tampa and back to Atlanta without telling a serious lie. I’d say things like, “I’m just working” (sort of true since I was traveling to/from a book conference) or “It’s pretty crazy around here” (I had just spotted a male passenger wearing bright red knee socks, baggy short pants, and sandals, so . . . not technically a lie.)
I thought I was home free, so I called Mama from Atlanta while I waited to catch my final flight back to Birmingham. The end of that conversation went something like this:
Mama: How’s everything at work?
Me: Oh . . . pretty busy.
Mama: I hear a lot of background noise.
Me: [Nervous laughter] Really? I guess everybody’s chatty this morning.
Atlanta Airport PA System: ATTENTION, ALL PASSSENGERS! ATTENTION ALL PASSENGERS! THIS IS YOUR SECURITY REMINDER TO KEEP ALL OF YOUR BAGGAGE IN YOUR POSSESSION AT ALL TIMES!!!!!
Mama: Are you traveling?
Mama: Thought so. I can always tell.
The moral of this story: Even when you’re feeling like part of an anonymous herd, you’re not. God loves you. And the people who love you might be far away, but they’re still there—even when you aren’t.
Feeling thankful this morning for all the bonds—human and divine—that get me through my daily turbulence.
[Image by Ian L @ Freerangestock.com]