A combination of jet-lag and excitement got me up, washed, dressed and out exploring at the crack of dawn that Saturday in October. Ready to start my day with some coffee and breakfast, it wasn't long before I stumbled across a Starbucks. Lame choice huh, Heather? Oh no, but you see, this wasn't any Starbucks. This was my first American Starbucks (sticking American in front of pretty much anything made it exciting). So I headed in, placed my order, and sat at a window seat with my bible and my notebook.
I still have the receipt tucked in my bible, in the midst of the Psalms. It doesn't mark a place or serve as a bookmark for my current reading. But I can't bring myself to throw it away. For me, it is a slightly odd Ebenezer - not a stone of help, but a receipt of help, a marker for a significant time in my life where all I could and all I can do is wonder at God's grace.
See, we all know that I dislike flying, that I'd once sworn never to fly again, but over time had managed to get back on planes, gritting my teeth as I did so, even on short hops. This trip presented such a wonderful opportunity - visit friends who are practically family in South Carolina, by way of New York, with my husband and some of our closest friends. I'd always wanted to go to the US. I'd always wanted to see New York. I longed to see our friends - friends I used to see every week until the time came for them to return Stateside. I wanted to have an adventure and I couldn't think of a better group of people to go with.
But the flight. All 7-8 hours of it loomed before me. You know, if I freak out on a two hour flight, it sucks but it's not too long before it ends. But if I freak out on a flight like this? And what if I need the loo? Usually I can't even stand up on a plane in flight, let alone walk around. And not just the flight - there's the build up to the flight, the anxiety, the panic attacks, the IBS, the dizziness.
But I did it. I sat, strapped into my seat, between my husband and my good friend, holding my husband's hands as the engines started roaring, and as the plane took off, God spoke to me. And I got goosebumps and my eyes teared up and I smiled as though my face would break in two. It was fine. Better than fine - I relaxed, I looked around, I watched some films, I ate plane food (surprisingly good, on the flight over at least), I got up and stretched and walked to the loo.
|Courtesy of the Husband|
And eventually we landed and made our way outside and I saw some yellow cabs and, oh, how good did that feel? My soul soared and yet all I could do was watch and marvel at God's grace. The trip itself was incredible - everything I'd hoped for, and more on top of that. So, I keep that receipt, my receipt of help, to make me smile as I remember that woman sitting incredulous in Starbucks at Union Square so early on an Autumn Saturday - that is me.