There was no supernatural help packing yesterday. Just me, up to my old travel tricks...running around scattered and hysterical trying to cram one more unnecessary, extraneous object into the seam-busted suitcase. I left out the only truly critical items, so they will have to be overnighted. Guess I shouldn’t get cocky about being so coolly bi-coastal.
My dear friend Betty had gamely volunteered to attempt the airport run. Off we sped, 30 or 40 minutes past alleged departure time, my husband urging haste and concentration as we laughed and started gabbing away to make up for lost time. When we hit Loganville, Betty asked if Conyers was on down the road a bit. We had blabbed our way right past the turn-off to 1-20. Thelma and Louise had a blast following “Mrs. Garmin’s” directions through rural Georgia...“Turn left in 0.6 miles at Hog Wallow Road onto Skunk Creek Trail.” We commented about how charming the scenery was, and noted that we’d have missed it if we hadn’t detoured. I was thinking about how I’d wile the time away at the airport waiting for the evening flight, when it finally looked like God was doing one of his time-warp things and we’d make it. But, Hartsfield within tantalizing sight, we were stopped in our tracks by a farm tractor slowly moving construction debris out of the lane to the North Terminal. Betty and I looked at each other. She doesn’t get as hysterical as I do. I remembered some of our Three Stooges road trips to Mississippi. Suddenly, I didn’t care if I missed the flight or not....we’ve had first-hand experience that everything always works out in the end. It is true that God takes care of drunks and fools.
Against all (human) odds, I made it to the gate a little before departure time. Although there was a long line waiting to confer with the airline representatives, I decided to take my husband’s advice and try to upgrade. Seconds before boarding time, I made it almost to the front of the line, just to hear the rep tell the man in front of me that there was one upgrade left on the plane. When she told him the price, he hesitated. I prayed. He said, “Never mind” and stomped off. I flashed that Visa out in about 2 seconds flat.
Now I need to tell you that I love to change locations, but I despise the process. Traveling stinks. I hate airports, airplanes, 2 oz. fluids in Ziplocs, strip searches, crowds, and germs. I get nauseated taking off and landing. My ears pop, my head hurts, my neck hurts, my back hurts. I am not a fun traveling companion. And I really don’t like to talk to whatever unlucky soul happens to get the seat next to me.
In the days prior to leaving for California, I had been fighting off all thoughts about what it would be like when I got here. I’m better than Katie Scarlett in thinking about unpleasant realities ‘tomorrow’.... I can sometimes postpone it indefinitely. I had made a date with myself to think about it on the trip, since I’d probably be miserable anyway. I was relieved to find a serious-looking Asian man working on his laptop in the seat next to mine. Probably working on a presentation for some million-dollar meeting, I thought. This was confirmed in my mind when we later exchanged initial pleasantries and he told me he was flying to LA from Raleigh for a two-hour meeting, and then flying back again. Then he started asking about me. When I gave him an abbreviated version of why I was flying to LA, he looked deeply concerned. “Do you mind if I pray for you?” he asked. (Do I mind???) Then we finally introduced ourselves, and he handed me his card. It said: GRACE MISSION MINISTRIES, Rev. Joshua Moon. I think it must have shocked him a little when I started laughing. (I’m sorry, but anyone who doesn’t think God has a sense of humor must not know him that well.)
Josh asked me many questions about Katherine’s situation. He asked me about how the other family members were being affected. He wanted details about the AVM rupture. He wrote down her caringbridge site. He took notes. He explained that praying is his gift. He told me that it is not uncommon for Korean churches to have prayer groups that meet at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. They take it that seriously. He would get the word out to pray immediately. You see, the meeting he was going to was not a powerhouse of slick business executives, but a convergence of 15 Asian pastors from all over the country who are board members of a mission in Mongolia. He told me they would begin their meeting with intercessory prayers for Katherine, and then these pastors would fly home to their own congregations and pass it on...and on and on. All around the world! I believe him. This man’s got credentials when it comes to persevering in prayer: He and his wife prayed for children for fourteen years....and God gave them triplets at age forty! Their pictures were adorable.
He asked if I had a picture of Katherine. I rarely carry pictures in my purse, but I’d thrown a stack in that morning in an effort to clean off the mantel. I gave him one, which he clipped to his notes. Something came up about the blogs. He said he would like to read them. The first time I have ever printed any out was that morning. (I wanted to read one to Katherine without taking the whole laptop in.) I gave him those as well. He read them then and there and asked if he could keep them to share with others. Then my new brother and I held hands in that First Class cabin and prayed. We kept right on praying as the flight attendant delivered my Cape Cod. We prayed over the loudspeaker and the loud passengers, oblivious to the looks that must have been shooting our way. When we finished, Rev. Moon told me that he wasn’t even supposed to be sitting in that seat. He had upgraded just before I did because of a disk problem, too.
Obviously, I am finishing this the day after I started it. When I went into Katherine’s room yesterday afternoon, she was very sad. I told her this story to cheer her up, and then showed her Rev. Moon’s card. I read the scriptures printed on the back. The second one was 2 Timothy 4:7: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” I told her that was what she was going to do.
She lifted her arm up into the air and made a strong fist.
Providence: a:divine guidance or care b:God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny. (Webster’s)
Providence: literally foresight, but is generally used to denote God's preserving and governing all things by means of second causes. (Easton’s)