After more than 24 hours since our departure flight from Nashville, we have arrived safely in Kinshasa. Flying internationally can be fraught with mishaps, and this trip marks the farthest either of us has ever traveled from home.
Our adventure began with the first of many “How Did We Get Here?” moments. Our good friend Mary dropped us off at the airport. When we went to weigh our luggage, three of the four suitcases were over the 50-pound weight limit, each by five or ten pounds a piece. This forced us to open our carefully packed suitcases, exposing all manner of undergarments, and re-evaluate the contents. We were able to move enough things around and only threw away a box of sidewalk chalk and a couple of cans of sunscreen and bug spray. (Don’t worry. We still have plenty.)
At some point in the second half of the trip, the exhausted, ridiculous part of my brain staged a coup to take over all operations form the reasonable part of my brain. Let me explain: Three songs started playing in rotation in my head—“All About that Bass,” the theme song from the Bill Cosby show “Picture Pages,” and “Deep in the Heart of Texas.” There’s no rhyme or reason why these songs wouldn’t leave me alone. I tried to listen to music and watch movies on the tiny screens mounted on the back of the headrests, but nothing worked. I also started thinking every fellow passenger was a celebrity. There was singer/actor Lenny Kravitz just across the aisle. And is that master magician David Copperfield sitting in front of him? Of course not. I was just experiencing airplane cabin fever.
It is now almost midnight on Monday in Kinshasa. In just a few hours, we’re supposed to meet our son at his orphanage. It feels like I’m getting ready for the most important blind date of my life. Will he like me? What will we talk about? What should I wear?
My greatest source of comfort, other than my belief in a God who created the Sahara desert and jet streams strong enough to hold up an Airbus while you fly over the Sahara desert, is the people who have chosen to walk this journey with us. When we started unpacking at the hotel tonight, Brent showed me a package Mary secretly gave him before taking us to the airport. It’s from the beloved girls from my Bible study group. Inside was the most beautiful leather journal with Africa embossed on the front. I started to read the many letters also included in the package, but I had to stop. I’ll ration them out along with the letters my friend Amy had our kids write to us and another bundle of letters from friends who came to Betsy and Robert’s house to pray for us last Saturday. What a great cloud of witnesses! My cup overflows.