I’m on my third of three flights today.
It shouldn’t be any different than the other thousands of miles I have flown, but it is. The TSA agents repeat the calls for everyone to pour out their water before they get to the scanner. Newspapers and magazines show pictures of those days that changed us forever.
The signs posted everywhere remind me that somehow we now live in a world where it’s not safe to carry toothpaste or hair gel in your carryon.
And with all those images and memories in my mind, I wait for my next plane.
Like most people, I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news that our country had been attacked.
I was with a small group of friends in a very rural village near the Haitian border in the Dominican Republic. We were laughing and joking around as we prepared pill bottles filled with prenatal vitamins and anti-worm medicine for the next phase of our medical clinic.
It had been hours since the first plane went into the towers and the news of the attack spread quickly through the village by way of battery powered radio.
Around 3:00pm, a priest from a nearby town printed out a few news stories from the internet accompanied by some pictures to show us what had happened. We were obviously in shock, some people wondering if this was some kind of sick internet hoax.
We were quickly assured that it was not.
For a while we sat in extended periods of silence that were occasionally broken by questions that had no answers.
Why? How? What next? Can we get home?
Then someone asked “What can we do?”
To that question there was an answer.
First, we could pray. Knowing we had no control, we turned to the One who did. We asked for healing, protection, wisdom and comfort. We poured out our hearts, in unity, to ask for the Strong Tower and Lamp to be those very things in that hour of uncertainty and fear.
We cried, we hugged, and then sat back for a second, before we got back to filling pill bottles.
We knew we couldn’t save any of the lives in New York—
but we might be able to save a few in this little village by giving them medicine and teaching them how to purify their drinking water.
We knew we couldn’t comfort those who were mourning in the states, but we could provide the money for a casket to help the family who lived a few homes down from the church who were mourning over the death of their daughter that very day.
We knew all we could do was stay faithful to the place, circumstances and people where God had called us to serve that week.
So today, many years later, I am still trying to do the same thing.
There are so many things that I know I could focus on that I have no control over. As I write this, I do not have a regular job, all of my earthly possessions are in a storage unit or my car, and my bank account is dangerously low.
But instead of focusing on what I don’t know and cannot control, I choose to step forward in the areas I do and continue offering up praise and request to the One who is in control.
Even though, every time I get on a plane, I wonder if somehow this flight could be “the next one” I continue to try to be faithful to the place, circumstances and people where God has called me to serve.
All the images and sounds around me serve as a helpful reminder:
I am not called to be in control, just to be faithful.
I know today’s faithfulness shouldn’t be any different then all the other days, but somehow it is. With toothpaste and hair gel securely stowed in my checked baggage, I will get ready to board my last flight of the day.
Because even in the midst of chaos, confusion and fear, there is still work to do.