Departure was difficult. Waves of sadness crashed over me when I let them. All morning an eight-year-old girl stole moments to sidle up to my desk and press herself into me, looking up with big, sad eyes.
I’m going to miss you.
I’ll miss you, too, Little One.
It’s hard for me to fathom being missed, but I believe it from the comments and conversations overheard at home and school. I choose to believe it in the midst of unbelief.
I will also miss.
Saying goodbye to my love triggers deep, deep feelings, long buried, yet tapping me on the shoulder for attention. Painful goodbyes and long distance separation belong to our story. My well-crafted walls, once easy to put up, are beginning to crack.
I purposely chose an airport away from a metropolis with lots of people and traffic. The smooth hour and forty minute drive south allows me time to think.
Starbucks’ Chile Mocha doesn’t rival Shenandoah Joe’s Aztec, but it’s not bad. I bless my husband for his encouragement to drive through Starbucks and for giving me money to try this new seasonal drink.
Self care looks like stopping to use the restroom when I have to. Baby steps. Not gonna lie. I go inside.
The airport is quiet and empty. Security is a breeze. I sit and wait.
Now I can allow my mind to fully unwind and wander. It goes right to the earbuds I forgot to borrow from my husband. I choose to use money gifted by my inlaws for snacks to buy a pair.
The music pumping into my ears throughout the flight makes every dime of that purchase worth it.
Flight one is late. My smooth plan is hitting a snag, and countless checkings of my connecting flight information is not speeding this flight up a bit. I keep checking.
Prop planes are another part of my story. Lots of puddle jumping. Still the loud rattle outside of my window is jarring.
Why does it feel like a lawn mower is pushing me up into the sky? I focus on pressing my back into the seatback and imagine I am getting a massage.
Wednesday is chapel day. Was I really just sitting in chapel with my class this morning singing Good, Good Father? It is not lost on me that the worship song Mr. C chose for this month has been another thing preparing my heart for the road ahead.
It is work to truly believe my Father’s goodness, and that He knows just what I need, even if it is uncomfortable or hard.
It’s hard to sit on a late flight and wonder where the connecting gate will be in the airport. It’s hard to think that just what I need could involve missing it.
And that would be okay.
There is a level of tension and expectancy as we crowd the aisle waiting to funnel off of the plane and wait for our carry-on bags. This is why the flight attendant firmly admonishes us that under no circumstances are we to go beyond the propellers.
I want to dash back and grab my bag and run into the airport to find my gate. Instead I wait like everyone else until the cart wheels up. All of us have places to be. Mine is gate B4. I am in concourse E.
Grateful for my daily Dewey workouts, I begin the dash. And dash it is. And focus.
You know just what I need. . .
You’re a good, good Father. . .
I am loved by you.
The words set my pace.
It takes an eternity and several moving sidewalks to traverse concourse E and try to locate B. It draws closer as other letters branch off and shops begin to appear.
Piano music fills the air as concourse B comes into view. A young man sits at a grand piano playing.
My ears hone in on the tune in disbelief. It really can’t be.
I want to stop and fumble through my bag for my wallet to dig out some cash to drop in the tip jar if there is one. Is there a tip jar? I have no time. I must get to gate B4. I must stop in the restroom.
I offer up a prayer of blessing, instead. It’s all I can do.
I arrive at my gate just as standbys are being called.
My bag must be checked, and I surrender it at the end of the ramp before boarding. I breathe my way onto the plane.
Sinking into the window seat, I allow the tears to roll down my face.
Dear Young Man playing Good, Good, Father on the piano in the Charlotte Airport,
Thank you for the gift of worship in the chaos of travel. Through you, the Father gave me just what I needed to get to my plane on time. May the God who sees in secret reward you openly.