Saturday, January 12, 2013

I'm Back

God is in control. I sheepishly prayed for snow in Indiana and got a blizzard. I prayed that I would have a good time with my family and Greg. We had an AMAZING time. I prayed that God would give me courage as I spoke publicly about little details of my life I like to keep private. Microphone propped, I spoke. I prayed for simple social interaction with friends. God gave me a group of amazing, supportive loved ones who made it hard to leave an L.A. that I once loathed. Friends that gave me their time. Friends that opened their hearts, wallets and homes. He is in control. I stressed and fretted and repacked three times for a bag that hovered between 48 and 53 pounds, over-ish the weight limit. I got checked in curb-side with no scale in sight. He was in control. It was time to get back to Haiti. And I kept getting asked the same question. “Are you ready to go back?”

Yes. No. Maybe so.

I walked through the L.A. airport, knowing I was about to depart material abundance. I entered the Duty Free shop to unapologetically spray the fancy $90 bottle of “Miss Cherie” perfume all over. I reach my gate with time to spare and used the last of the Starbucks card my dad gave me. I buy a drink that costs a day’s wage in Haiti. I get the skinny version with whipped cream. An oxymoron I know. I return to my gate to see that first class is boarding. I wait just a minute or two until my fancy, “priority access” status is announced. In comfy linen and trusty TOMS I sashay in among the business suits and fancy heels I still haven’t learned to walk in. As I take my window seat, I get a huge whiff of overdone perfume.  I realize it’s me. Awesome. I try to drift to sleep as we push away from the gate. I open my eyes to see we haven’t moved. Our captain comes on.

“Folks, seems that there is a problem with the left engine starting so we’re going to get towed back to our gate and have the mechanics take a look.”
There are times when ignorance is bliss.

 About 30 minutes later the captain announces that the engine problem “seems” to be fixed. My loved ones know I have a problem with hanging on words. Is that a yes fixed or no fixed? I hang on those words as I forget what it is I know, what I need to believe. My mind once so convinced that God was in control now freaks out in window seat 9A. We start to take off. My mind races. I remember the Dateline special that talks about how the most dangerous part of a flight is the first and last three minutes. I count to 60 three times. What happens when one engine fails? Is it like a row-boat with one rower, would we just spin in circles? Could I land a plane?  I’ve flown a little one for 30 minutes with a co-pilot. Miraculously, my worried mind slows to sleep. I wake up as we land in Miami. He IS in control.

The Miami to Port au Prince flight is a blur, just 1 hour 39 minutes to feel worlds away. I am back.  With the 3 year anniversary of the earthquake just days away, I am impressed and encouraged as I walk into the new Port-au-Prince terminal. It’s beautiful and just so…western. I wait and wait for my last bag to come out on the conveyer belt. It doesn’t. I visit the friendly staff at the lost baggage desk. I find out that my bag has gone MIA in MIA. I give an over detailed description of the red and gray Osprey backpack. I pass through customs to the still new waiting area. I wait until I see Jean Paul and then exit the impressive new terminal. I am back. I enter a room, my room. A thick layer of dust has settled over everything. As class dismisses an abundance of little voices call out my name and I get hugs and hellos. I’m exhausted. Dinner comes. Beans, rice and fried chicken. I am back. I get a wave of homesickness. I miss my family and Greg and friends and English and options. I take a cold shower and smell the wave off Miss Cherie sliding off. I feel refreshed but wrecked.  On this hot night the wind is so forgiving. I look up to a star filled sky. Amidst fears, and hopes and facing undoubted frustration I am back. And here too, He is in control.