Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Small World After All

It was, and is, one of those stories in which God's careful orchestration still causes me to shake my head and smile.

But it arrived in the form of two and a half days of travel. Five planned flights. Six actual flights. Two nights "sleeping" upright on a full plane. Unnumbered queues in five airports in five countries.

A delayed flight from Dulles Airport to Brussels had somehow resulted in the longest travel of  John's and my lives as we limped from Little Rock, Arkansas to Entebbe, Uganda. (Neither easily located on a map by the average Joe, I'd wager.)

I call this one "bliss."
But God obviously has no wasted experiences in His economy. Bewildered and sleep-deprived with about eleven other travelers to Uganda, we traipsed around international airports. We slept in terminals. We swapped ideas to stretch our meal vouchers. And we mostly sat around and talked, sharing the stories that were carrying us to Africa. Some of us even herded Ugandan children like the one who fell asleep in my lap--to my utter delight.

Among a diplomat, a soldier, a Ugandan family, and a number of Christian aid workers, John and I met Lizzy and Cindy. They were heading to Uganda to meet who they hoped would be their future daughters in an orphanage for the first time. (How cool is that?!) Despite the hovering fatigue, it was beautiful to hear and see their anticipation to gather into their homes these beautiful girls they'd never met.
Lizzy, kid-magnet and adoptive mom-to-be

As we all prodded kids together in the Brussels and Frankfurt airports (which Lizzy and Cindy shouldered far more than I), took kids to run out their energy or use the bathroom, and laughed in exhaustion at our degree of jet lag or hygiene decline, I found comfort in watching God's plans unfold--despite whatever ours had been. I loved getting to know His Body as it was built up and sent out around the world. I loved contemplating whether I'd be holding a little brown baby of my own someday, or just how much I missed my little blonde and brunette ones.

The plot thickened when Cindy and Lizzy ended up staying at the same guest house in Kampala: "No way!" We complimented each other on how good we looked without airport grime after a good shower.  Stopping at each other's rooms in the evenings or parting the jet lag fog at breakfast, we compared notes of what we'd experienced, and what baffled or fascinated us. John and I borrowed their computer for a couple of Skype attempts. He and I got the 411 on their first boda-boda (death-defying motorcycle taxi) experience.

Continuing in the uncanny, the four of us hung out at the airport awaiting our shared flights out of Kampala. Lizzy and I brushed our teeth together in the restroom and tried to swallow our anxiety as we waited (again) through security lines that threatened our boarding time. Back in the old U.S. of A., we swapped information as we concluded a life-changing and unplanned journey together.

...Or so we thought. I was delighted this past week to receive a Facebook message from Lizzy: She, Cindy, and their husbands are scheduled to depart for Kampala on January 27 to pick up their girls for good! And yes--that's three days before we'll get there. Lord willing, I can't wait to see these forever families together for the first time.

Just to say it clearly: God still amazes me.