I don't love flying. I tolerate it but would never choose to jet around on the weekends just for fun. Nope. After a successful separation from Tim and the kids (successful meaning only Isaiah and his wimpy mom dissolved into mush but no screaming), I did the ever expanding security bit. Liquids less than 3oz in a Ziploc bag, water bottles in the trash, boarding pass and identification available, shoes off. No problem.
As I sit a the terminal I can't help but look around and wonder, even pray, about who God will stick me next to. I had a window seat so there was really only one person to worry about. I like window seats. I can focus on something other than my nausea. I can see just how much or little we are actually turning and better orient myself to avoid the nausea. I can press my face against the slightly cooler window pane when the nausea begins creeping up the back of my throat. Flying bad. Window seat slightly less bad.
Soon enough I board the plane along with all the other peasants in coach class, pausing momentarily in the inner chamber of first class and fighting off the desire to begin shouting "unclean, unclean" like the outcasts we clearly were. Moving again, I scan the numbers at the top of the rows and find my destination -row 14. Shifting my eyes over to see F -occupied! WHAT!? For people like myself who experience in flight anxiety, a confrontation over seating must be weighed carefully. I decided it wasn't worth a fight but maybe I could use it to break the ice. And you all know me, if I don't have sarcasm what do I have?
I climb into the middle seat, settled in and then stuck out my hand and said "Hi. I'm Amie!" He looked at me with a combination of surprise and fear. I'm sure he was thinking I was some kind of freak who would talk his ear off the entire flight. He was only half right. ;-)
He shook my hand and introduced himself as Tijuan (not sure about the spelling) and I said "I just figured if you're going to steal my window seat we should at least know each other's names." He smiled sheepishly and said, "Sorry, it's my first time flying." I was thinking just what you are thinking, yeah right. Turns out, it's true. It was his first time flying. And boy was it a doozie. Everything was great until the last 45 minutes. Apparently, torrential storms had landed on top of the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport and were not letting up for anyone.
We went from occasional, pleasant conversation to passing looks of "oh boy", intermittent deep breathing, and synchronized fanning of ourselves with the NWA emergency exit information. I was praying hard. Lord, what kind of testimony will I have if I throw up on this guys feet? Please just get us on the ground quickly, well, not too quickly. I also prayed for him. Not a highly spiritual prayer. It was more like Lord, please don't let him hurl. If he goes, I go. Please do not let him throw up. The plane did not land any faster than usual. The shaking, bumping, and random dropping of altitude did not stop until we hit the ground BUT God was faithful. Nobody spewed. And I was able to give Tijuan a tract before we left the plane. He had another two hour flight to go so maybe he read it.
I was so glad to be on the ground and so glad to see the giant suburban pulling up to baggage claim. The chatter and barrage of questions from Isaac, Noah, and occasionally Hope was great fun. And after such a flight, Tara's driving wasn't so bad.
Installment one...more later