October 31, 2011
Long Stall, ME Newsletter, Vol. 4, Issue 44
Long hours of movement and stalls, movement and stalls, lends itself to deep thinking and stalls.
I’m working on that time line things again. I figure I’ve known my friend in Ireland for at least 25 years. The last time we met up was in Massachusetts, four years ago. We strolled among the Dr. Seuss sculptures compared widowhood, stories of our losses, enjoyed a good meal and shared dreams of a future lives in Tennessee. In the present, her life remains enmeshed in music and her husband’s legacy. Mine has long since left that path, and left me at my husband’s legacy at University of Michigan Home Care Services in Finance. I have been meaning to start volunteering at The Ark. I should have acted on that usher’s suggestion two years ago. Now, I’m no longer comfortable driving at night. I tried it a few weeks ago coming home from writing class. Not comfortable.
My own thoughts corral and stall as Itune-in enough to overhear a young woman, a recent college graduate. She is headed to Edinburgh, Scotland for an internship at the American Consulate. “It’s been my life’s desire and a long time coming,” she says seriously. So, yes, time is relative, which brings me back to my time line issues. I’ve never grasped or remembered dates. I don't compartmentalize. From birthdays to World History classes, I only remember seasons, vague months, or thereabouts. I’ve tried on-time reminders, I’ve tried advance reminders. I forget to check the reminders, which makes the whole time effort required to input all that data well wasted, as well. Nowadays, time is going faster which makes it harder to act or react within appropriate time lines.
Since my world has slowed to a traveler’s pace, I try to forget about all that. Browsing available entertainment selections: magazines, movies, music, electronic games, I decide on a distraction, and prepare to stall myself in flight. Long time.
October 23, 2011
Wired, ME Newsletter, Vol. 4, Issue 43
After a while, I look up from my favorite airport magazine indulgence. This time the Scientific American cover story strikes me as appropriate, “The Two Faces of Stress.”
The waiting area has filled with passengers, many wearing “Ireland 2011” fleece jackets. Hoping to find some short-term traveling companions, I smile at the two retiree age couples across from me. “Are you with a tour?” I ask, even though the answer is obvious. We chat about our tour plans and ask and answers questions of each other.
They have neck support pillows and back support pillows and ear plugs for the longer flight, connecting in Newark to Aer Lingus. Disappointed I’ll be braving Newark alone, I look over the shoulder of the woman sitting next to me. Sporting the same jacket she shows me a booklet with each traveler’s name, picture and home town, as well as a detailed itinerary. What a nice idea, I think. I hope my tour group has something like that. Boarding begins on time, and soon enough I am as settled as I can be into my window seat.
The first leg of my journey finds me in the company of a surprisingly jumpy fellow. For someone who says he travels a lot, he seems a little wired to me. He orders an alcoholic beverage as soon as possible and then tells me he is a wire salesman headed for Germany. I ask “automotive or infrastructure?” and we proceed to trade knowledge of engineering firms and advancements.
When talk tapers off, I close my eyes for a bit. As the pilot announces our decent into Newark, my seat mate begins to fiddle with his napkin. He twists and rolls his cocktail napkin in what I suspect is nervousness. Surprising me again, he displays a talent for making paper roses out of napkins, and hands it to me with a flourish. He tells me if he could use his lighter he would burn the petals for color. I start to wonder if this is his way of flirting, but as soon as the plan lands, he sprints from his seat without any parting words. Ah, I sigh inwardly. It’s for sure, now. I’ll be facing Newark alone.
October 17, 2011
Secured, ME Newsletter Vol. 4, Issue 42
Going through security at DTW was not as stressful as it was going to Florida in March. The entrance attendant scanned my passport. My luggage rode uneventfully through the scanner and I passed through the body scan just as easily. I gathered myself and my belongings up and stopped to put on my shoes thinking, “That’s it?” Then I noticed the Homeland Security desk sitting quietly between two more sort-of gates.
There was someone else at the desk, so I waited my turn for a few minutes, stepping up when I could. The two guards looked at me strangely when I approach. ‘I am taking an international flight,” I announce. “Do I need to stop here?” I felt a little foolish, when they shook their heads and told me to move on. Headed for D2 and very early, I came across a TV at D9. President Obama was speaking about the assassination of the former President of Afghanistan and the head peace negotiator being killed in his own home by a suicide bomber. I have a hard time grasping the hate and the level of it required to perform such an act. No – I have an impossible time -can’t fathom.
Bewildered, and logically a little more insecure, I turn away. Surprisingly, I find myself squarely facing a supposedly non-existent currency exchange booth. Of course, the window notice reads, “Back in 15 minutes”. In light of my early arrival, I take a seat at the wrong gate, and wait. I munch on cheese brought from home and sip on airport bought Mountain Dew, contemplating short setbacks I have already endured and the long journey ahead of me.
The kiosk reopens and it turns out that I misunderstood the currency conversion chart I read on-line. $200.00 Euros will cost $314.00 – I got it backwards. So, part cash, part debit card later, I have my Euros. I head for the right departure gate feeling accomplished and somewhat immediately secured, but not at all completely right about anything.
October 10, 2011
Ephesians, ME Newsletter, Vol. 4, Issue 41
So, have you done it, recently? Have you asked yourself, “How did I get here?”
October 6, 2007, I was on my very first GITC roll, far from home, in the company of 48 strangers, asking myself over and over, “How did I get here?”
Every year for the past five years, on October 6th, I ask myself this question again. And every year, the answer seems more and more obvious. If you would have told me 10 years ago today, October 6, 2001, on my wedding day, that I would be a Christian, I would have doubted it. If you had told me 5 years ago today, October 6, 2006, at my husband’s funeral, that I would survive, and my Christian faith would be stronger than ever, I would have doubted it. There is no doubt in my mind these days, yet every year on this particular day, I take stock. I do so in amazement, and marvel at how GOD has brought me to and brought me through. Joyfully, this year, HE has brought me to you. Whether after a long while we’ve crossed paths again or we’ve intersected for the very first time, we’re solidly on the same journey, and have been for quite a while.
Please know that today, I am praying for the safety of your heart and body. I am praying for your guidance to be strong and bright. I am praying that the life you are living, will be sustaining memories that hold you close, reminding you of hard times and sacrifice, of love and hope, and those you share each experience with. May the LORD bless and keep you always.
Then He will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of God, though it is too great to fully understand, then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
October 04, 2011
Errors/Euros, ME Newsletter, Vol. 4, Issue 40
The beginning started a long time ago. At the end of one life there was another waiting. Not precluding the previous, just building from one step to another: rising and following to an escalator’s rhythm. Unaware, there comes a moment when you’ve risen to the top – unsure and glancing backwards to see where you’ve come up from, while still forced to keep moving.
Despite my list and preparations, I didn’t put myself to bed until 1:00 am. Up at 7:30 am to finish a short list of items: preparations for Miss Fred and Harley Blu, take out the garbage, retrieve the car charger for the phone because I heard I might be able to use it on the plane and as long as I’m in the car I go for a drive-thru breakfast. I munch through preparing the newsletter for launch, pack away my last minute toiletries, and get down to the one remaining task. Send out the Midweek Encouragement Newsletter, Volume 4, Issue 38… or not.
On departure day, about an hour before I leave home, Yahoo experiences a rare slow down/processing stall. Having left the easiest task for last, I start to panic just a little. Then the taxi driver is calling to say he is downstairs waiting to whisk me away. Thank goodness my sister-in-law and I hatched a back-up plan last night, just in case I couldn’t send Vol. 4, Issue 39 next week from Ireland. I call from the cab and enlist her gracious aid. In between the net stall and the confirmation of the send for Vol. 4, Issue 38, I arrived at DTW.
Self check-in is fine, if you’ve done it before. If not, it’s hard to get assistance from the blank looking counter clerks. With persistence and enough yahoo questions to alert them that I was clueless, I did get some attention, seat assignments, boarding passes and was informed that my luggage weight was surprisingly well below the limit.
Accomplished, I set out for currency exchange. Easy enough to locate, a sign announces the kiosk is only open during peak hours: 7:30 am – 10:30 am and then again from 3:30 pm – 7:30 pm. I ask at Information and am told there is no other kiosk, unless I want to “drive over to McNamara.” I decide against that and then decide that there will be a small upside to being routed through Newark. I’ll be able to secure Euros there, for sure.