I sit at a fiberglass table, looking out on a tarmac where winged machines the size of several Blue Whales are taking off into the air in what seems like an act of defiance of natural law. Concrete runways stretch nearly to the horizon, there are little piles of rumpled clothing hiding the tired flesh of slumbering beings on every suitable (and unsuitable) surface you can find. An overhead sound system gently and serenely speaks arrivals and departures into our ears without the slightest hint of the anxiety that someone or other must be experiencing.
It's like an in-between world, this airport, this transfer lounge. A place between places, a stop on the Way. I'm not a travel blogger, but I feel like I need to update you on my travels since I left yesterday and won't be arriving in Cairo until sometime late tonight. Nothing much has happened since we left, since I left those sweet cheeks and strong hands. But here I am without them, in a world between worlds and with nothing but a tarmac and people to look at, a book in my hands and thoughts running uninterrupted.
So, if you choose to join me here, please stay and feel welcome! I wish we were sitting together. Know that since I am no travel blogger my observations may be a bit more metaphysical than you were hoping for, and since I am without children my words may get a bit lengthy. We will hope for the best though.
I left on this trip to one of the oldest recorded civilizations with the realization that I would be traveling during the final days leading up to Easter. As a new Lent observer, this kind of disappointed me at first! I wanted to be home with my family and friends, preparing our hearts and minds and home together for the greatest of our Christian Holy-days. But the more I thought about it the more I realized this could be a unique way to enjoy the preparation for Easter. The historical place we will be, the unique stillness I will experience, the precious time to read and think and pray, these are gifts sacred to a mother and not to be treated lightly or wasted with the weight of guilt.
So this morning I sit watching man-made birds and God-made man and read and think through the Stations of the Cross. It's a simple, prayerful exercise, thinking through the progression of Jesus' journey from the time he is condemned to die by Pilate until he is laid in the tomb (oh the anticipation for the final Triumphant Morning!) It's impossible to sit in an international terminal and watch its crowds of people, reading about the act of the Incarnated God giving himself in death to redeem the world, and not think through it's implications for the span of all these varied lives.
It brings questions, and sorrow-- for the fallenness of these precious creatures is evident everywhere: the businessman who berates the stewardess for her misunderstanding, the anger and frustration from the customer who is hindered by language, the harried sharpness of the mother whose child will not listen, the child who refuses to go any way but his own. There are days when I look around and can see the beauty that is still present too, the wonder that still remains of all the glory of God's original intent in creation, but today his need to die looms large on this concrete horizon.
The way of the cross is not all doom and despair. I sit here rejoicing, knowing the sweetness of forgiveness, of freedom, of hope, of joy because of the Way that Jesus took. But the journey to that sweetness begins at the cross. And wherever you are, whatever you see, you can look at him There, high and lifted up, and find that He is the Way.
On a lighter note, but one that is highly important to me, I had a Quizno's sub last night! Turkey and swiss cheese on a rosemary crusted bun. Sheer delight.