I crossed the ocean again.
Passports, TSA, luggage, tiny seats, and polite smiles filled my travel day. This time Ethiopian Air carried me across the time zones. English was not the first language. The curly letters and lilting cadence of Amharic surrounded me.
Changing hemispheres takes me way out of my everyday, ordinary life. I don’t know what’s for dinner. I don’t know where the bathroom is located or what is next on the schedule.
Instead, I find a most curious response: The less programmed day allows the space needed by God to direct my path.
Funny thing about free will is our capability to exercise independence. Manage my own path. My choice to fill the day with appointments, meetings, and activities crowds the hours like the crush of people surging through an airport. I moved with the sea of people, very little opportunity to veer off. But then… I needed to peel out of the flow to get a coffee, use the bathroom, and then get to my gate. The force of a moving crowd is as potent as any of Newton’s laws of physics.
I settled into my Economy class seat (with the seatbelt buckled for my safety, of course) for the 14-hour flight. A slight headache inched up from the base of my skull. My throat felt parched but I hesitated to break the brisk, purposeful steps of the flight attendants. Back and forth they went. So I sipped the tepid water from my water bottle. I wondered when we would get a snack or a meal. A little cheese and crackers, maybe? Tea would be lovely.
Interesting that we give up freedom of movement in order to move around the globe..at least in the Economy seats. I drool ever so slightly every time I walk through the lounging seats in first class. Some day!?!
Giving Up Control
When traveling, I give up control of the basics of life. My food and snack schedules are not my own. I share a mini-bathroom with 100s of people. My options for dinner include only chicken or beef. The air temperature is out of my control (seat fans do not exist on all planes). The inescapable hum of the plane engines drone on in the slightest of ringing tone. With an apologetic hesitation, we ask permission from seatmates so we can use the bathroom or take a stroll.
To change hemispheres, I give up my personal space with my personal choices in my personal world. It is difficult. The me-centered world in my own hemisphere is so much more comfortable. I choose what & when to eat and to drink. I don’t need anyone’s permission to unbuckle my seat belt or to leave my seat.
Yet it is in this changing space that I come to recognize the paradox of life as a faith-filled traveler.
Stepping into the Adventure
The gift of home can be the very thing that prevents adventure in God’s kingdom work. My choice of comfort beckons. I like managing my own life. I work hard to create my comfortable space.
It’s my right.
But…is it really MY life?
As a Christ-follower, I lay my life at the foot of the cross. I surrender my will to the authority of my Lord. My faith rests in the power of the Almighty Creator and Sustainer of life. My citizenship is His kingdom …not my personal hemisphere. No matter what my passport declares or the collection of visas testify, my true home is not of this world. And God’s plans offer way more adventure than my wildest imagination!
My most recent travels to Africa reminded me of this lesson once again.
O Lord, forgive my grip on the comforts of this life. Guide me beyond their siren call into full participation of your kingdom work. May our travels be ever on Your path alone.
“Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul.”
1 Peter 2:11 (The Message)
Posted by Sharon R Hoover