Sunday, January 10
Day #9 of the 2010 Jamaica Medical Mission Trip
Our last day in Jamaica. How sad - but good to be coming home and being with family and friends and pets again.
Our flight from Jamaica left around 4:00 pm - and was rather bumpy. My worst nightmare. Flying is bad enough, but bumps just make it worse. The seat belt sign was on, but about midway through the flight, I really, really had to get up and go to the back and use the restroom.
As I left the bathroom to return to my seat, the male flight attendant was sitting in the very back row of the plane and stopped me by saying, "Excuse me."
"Great", I thought. "I'm going to get chastised for getting out of my seat when the seat belt sign was on. But darn it - I was in pain - I couldn't help it."
The flight attendant than says, "Are you part of the big mission team we have on board?"
I said, "Yes - yes, I am" and thought, "Whew - appears I'm not in trouble."
He then began asking me a zillion questions about our trip - where we went, what we did, why we did it, etc.
I sat down in the empty seat next to him (mainly to buckle in - we were really bouncing around) and began talking about the mission trip. He then said something that absolutely blew me away.
He said, "The reason I'm asking is because I lead mission trips to Guatemala."
I sat and just stared at him for a second, and then excitedly blurted out, "I DO, TOO!"
Phil (yes, it was time to introduce ourselves) and I sat and talked for the next hour on that flight - about our passion for Guatemala and what we both do there. He does feeding trips - and I quizzed him and grilled him about how that worked; he then grilled me about the construction trips I've done. We compared notes and swapped war stories about our experiences in the "Land of Eternal Spring" - and the time just flew.
What's so amazing about this moment is because I had been recently reconsidering our construction trips. It's sometimes difficult to recruit teams for these - the work is very physical and very hard - sometimes leading to injuries and often times illnesses. I had been thinking and praying about what direction my work in Guatemala should take - and in fact, there is a meeting at church this coming Wednesday to talk about some of these concerns...and then this opportunity just about dropped into my lap.
Sometimes, as we go through life - as we zip here and zip there - like pinballs in the game of life, sometimes bouncing off each other - sometimes just missing each other - every now and then we "hit" someone that totally changes your trajectory. The moment, perhaps, when you first laid eyes on the person you knew you wanted to spend the rest of your life with. Or the day you met the person who would eventually become your best friend.
Or someone whom you meet totally random on an airplane, thousands of feet above the earth, on your way back to your seat from the bathroom - who totally "gets it" about why you do what you do - and perhaps holds the key for what you should be doing in the future, too.
How did Phil know I was part of the mission group onboard that plane? And how did it happen that we are both absolutely, unequivocally, passionate about Guatemala?
This is when you just HAVE to believe that there is a Higher Power who somehow, in some way, nudges you - right into that path that you need to be in - just so you can "hit" the other other person that you need to hit.
The trip was awesome. The ending was even better. And life? Life is really good.