Seated in the San Antonio Airport terminal, surrounded by anxious travelers clutching their carry-on baggage, angling toward the boarding gate, shuffling their feet to protect their places in line, I suddenly feel Your Presence at my side, reminding me that there is an abundance of time, space and resources available, now and always. And that there is no need to rush to join the herd in squeezing forward, or staking claim to my fair share of seemingly limited resources. I choose to view this as an open-ended invitation to have You be my Divine Traveling Companion for the duration of this trip to Europe and back.
CLAIMING THIS SPACE
Soon enough, it's time to assume my assigned seat at row 25A, where I spread my possessions in the overhead bin, in the seat pocket, in the headphone jack on the armrest, on the floor beneath me. Mine, mine, this space is mine, defined by my gear, the spread of my elbows, the tilt of my seatback. Shortly, You are back at my side, broadening my limited view by breathing through me slowly, softly. Expanding the space within and around me, just as surely as if You were blowing up an inflatable raft for a leisurely float in a friend's swimming pool, instead of this trans-Atlantic flight, packed to the rafters with several hundred fellow sardines.
SAVORING THE TASTE
Settling in, attempting to savor the micro-waved, vegetarian, special-request meal that seems remarkably free of any discernible flavor, You lean in to uncover one of the few plump, sautéed mushrooms that lies hidden, nestled under the steaming hot rice, as if to turn a spotlight on this nugget of pleasure and say, "Here, taste this with Me. Savor the few buttery bites that are available on this tray, instead of complaining about the flavors that seem to be missing."
UNPLUGGING THE NOISE
As the cabin darkens and headphones are distributed by the flight attendants, miniature monitor screens flicker to life on the backs of hundreds of headrests simultaneously, to provide entertainment during our eight-hour flight. I wrestle with the low-quality, high-tech remote control device built into the armrest, attempting to make sense of the dozens of channels offering a bewildering variety of movies, TV shows, musical programming and gaming options which I struggle to decipher from a complicated, multi-layered menu which I can't figure out how to navigate. Frustrating. Plus the disposable headset that the flight attendant handed out appears to deliver sound to just one ear, and it's mighty hard to hear over the roar of the jet engines.
You rescue me by gently pulling the headphone jack out of the armrest, hit the OFF button on the remote and run Your Hand over my eyelids, guiding me into a place of rest, reminding me that this has been one of the longest, fullest days in memory. And that my soul will be best served by falling asleep rather than staying awake, the low cabin air quality, high noise level and televised distractions notwithstanding. You whisper a sweet, soft lullaby as I drift off to sleep, arms and legs in a tangle, angled to find what physical comfort is to be found in the confines of 25A.
Landing in Amsterdam, groggy, hungry and feeling cramped as I emerge from the airplane and set foot in the Netherlands for the first time in years, where all the signs and all the sounds are communicating in Dutch. It seems rather odd to feel simultaneously "back home" and utterly, unmistakably alien, too. Suddenly I feel You gently massaging the soles of my feet -- sweetly urging me to get grounded. To trail downward from my head to my heart, to the roots of my Being, guided by Your Touch. Not just the idea of You, or the theory of You, but the experience of You as Presence, as Peace, as Now.
Wherever this journey may take me, may I be Here and Now. And now. And now...
With love and blessings,