This could be the trip of a life-time! Dad is turning 95 and it seems his 5 kids are going to emerge on scene to celebrate with him. We did that in 2000 for his 80th birthday. Back then Mom was with us. Now we have a “new” Mom, a young version, younger than any of us. We love our Mary-Mom, especially because we know she cares well for Dad.
This week has been tough trying to put everything together for the trip, especially with a congestion wanting to take over. Prayer and a home-made concoction have worked miracles. Honey, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice (2 tablespoons of each in a cup of water) is a wonderful remedy. I add grated ginger to the mix and make it even more potent. That’s what I’ve been drinking these last few days. I’m feeling better. Hopefully I haven’t picked up something along the way.
I’m writing this from the airport of a brand-new country “for me.” It’s been here for quite some time but I haven’t visited it. Finland is a country that has the most beautiful language. We used to work with Finish missionaries in Bolivia and I always loved to hear them speak. Their language has such a beautiful flow. When I get to my final destination I will post this story.
Thursday afternoon my friend Larry picked me up to take me to the airport. This year I managed to pack my bags without excessive weight. Not my hand-luggage, that is! I always have very heavy bags to carry. The computer, my medications for the entire trip, my Bibles, my journals… Those are things I don’t want to send in the checked baggage and they weight a lot. So far this trip I have not had complaints.
The flight from Springfield kept being delayed because of stormy weather in Chicago. Instead of leaving at 3.35PM we left at 6.35. That gave me a very small margin to catch my plane in Chicago. The plan was to call my daughter and grandchildren for a good-bye while I was having plenty of waiting time there. That was not to be! There was chaos in Chicago airport. Many delayed flights because of the storm.
As usual I had requested assistance and a beautiful black girl came to my aid, but she quickly had to call for help. “I’m pregnant,” she said. “I can’t push you and the bags!” Another beautiful girl came; both high school students that work in the evenings. One of the girls pushed the wheelchair and the other took my luggage on wheels. Then we tried to make our way to the gate for my flight. We had a train ride and then a LONG wait in line to go through security. The clock was ticking! I’m glad for security but what a hassle! It was a little nerve-wrecking because the girls put my things on the assembly line to go through the screening and just left me sitting. “Watch my computer!” I said to them. My life and my ministry are on the computer!
I finally got through the screening and the girls were waiting for me on the other side. We had to cut in front of some people so I could make it to my flight. So much for the plans of having an easy evening and time to talk to my grandchildren! I had told the girls helping me the reason for my trip. “Say Hi to Sweden and Happy Birthday to your Dad,” they shouted after they left me at the plane. So I have fresh greetings from two teen-aged girls who were my “salvation” in the chaos of Chicago Airport.
A plane is not a comfortable place to spend the night. Finnair was no exception. Hardly any room to move! I had a middle seat and would have been squeezed from both sides had not a seat on my left been empty. I praised God all night long for the empty seat! And there were kind gentlemen who helped me put my luggage in the overhead compartment and also lift it down. Another man helped me carry my other bag through the narrow aisle. I had number 49E so it was a long walk!
This reminds me of a story about Nick (with no arms and no legs) who played a trick on one of his flights and had his assistant put him in the luggage compartment. What a shock for whoever opened it!
If I didn’t have the problem with my feet I could be strolling in the Helsinki airport, which would be fun. That time is gone, until I have a miracle. I’m expecting a miracle. I just hear “Wait!” when I pray about it.
I am now in Sweden, very thankful to God for keeping me safe during the trip. Thankful to God, but very disappointed with myself. I’ve lost all the beautiful pictures I took of gorgeous clouds and an awesome sunset. The culprit? My new camera. I couldn’t find the battery charger for my camera so I had to buy a new one. Here’s how my disappointment happened.
I arrived safely in Sweden, at the airport in Gothenburg. My brother-in-law Ola came to meet me. Then we had a 2-hour drive to his place and where my dad lives. Stopping to buy gas we saw a big dollar sign. I thought it would be fun to photograph, but it was dark and I wasn’t getting a good picture, so I pushed some buttons to try to adjust the settings. That’s when it happened! The camera didn’t even ask me if I was sure I wanted to delete the pictures. It did it all on its own and just informed me that there were no pictures in the memory card. What a disappointment!
Now I know to be extra careful. I don’t want to lose more pictures. Maybe the 25-hour trip had something to do with it. A tired mind and body can play tricks on us. The trip took 26 hours, with three different carriers.
Speaking about tricks, how about I trick you a little bit? Here is a picture looking out from Dad and Mary’s window. There is something not right… See if you can spot it. Next time I’ll have the answer.
Blessings! Have a wonderful Sunday!