I dig around in my Swiss Army backpack, looking for his passport. I can’t find it. I have mine, but not his. Panic tightens in my chest as my son tugs on me, whining that he is hungry. I look at the clock. We need to grab a meal before our flight leaves. We have four hours, but if I can’t find his passport, it won’t matter.
Then the lights dim. I hear metal sliding and see a security guard sliding a huge metal gate across one of the terminal’s enormous corridors. They are shutting this part down. We can’t stay here, even if we didn’t need to eat. I ask a ticket agent about restaurants. She points down another corridor headed in the opposite direction. I take my son’s hand and start walking, thoughts racing. Where could the passport be? What are we going to do?
I wake up, heart pounding and head aching. It’s the second such dream in as many nights.
It is still fifteen days until I board a plane, passport in hand, and attempt to sleep my way through the thirteen-hour leg from New York to the Middle East. At this rate, I’ll be exhausted before I start. Maybe if I get my suitcase out of the attic and start packing it, the nightmares will stop.
I’m so scared.
It has been a difficult summer, with the church search, all my kids at home, a freelance business taking off, and my ongoing battle with depression. I’m functioning, but I gut through too many days by the skin of my teeth. Left to myself, I’d have spent this summer in bed.
Fear hisses doubts my way. How will I handle the jet lag? The language and culture barriers? The stories that start in incomprehensible desperate need? What if I get terribly sick? What if I let people down? The panic and racing heart of my dreams pursues my waking hours too.
I’m weak and small. Broken. How can I do this?
My husband wrote me some words about this trip yesterday. I read them and cried. God knew I needed them.
Slowly, like dawn warming the horizon, I remember. This whole thing? It isn’t about me. It’s about God and what He is doing. I’ve been given a small part, and broken is exactly how I need to be. I’m just a pot with cracks that give you a glimpse of how God is planting and cultivating hope in the desperately poor. Those cracks work the other way too, giving the people of Sri Lanka, both those in need and those serving, a glimpse of your love for them.
As my friend Alece wrote this week:
We can bring hope into places and hearts that gave up a long time ago.
Not because we feel guilty, but because we are compelled by the hope we ourselves have been given.
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not —to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)
How have you come to grips with your weakness? What tips can you share for overcoming jet lag and staying healthy in the third world? I played around my blog a bit last night – what do you think? (Big thanks to Gretchen for helping with the code!)
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