Wednesday, December 12, 2007
My Ethiopian flight arrived late into Dulles Airport, Washington, DC.
Still, I was able to make my connection on time. However, there were
a number of obstacles I had to surmount, which almost made me miss my
There was no ticket for me at the Delta desk. I was told reservations
had been made for me. Time was wasted searching the computer, but to
no avail. There was no ticket. I had to pay cash, $180. I was grateful
I had the money. I started to give Sharon all my money and credit card
when I left Ethiopia. She had decided she would stay in Ethiopia for
another week. I didn’t like the idea, but when you have raised
your children to be independent, what can a father do when they become
grown and be and do what you have taught them?
My second obstacle was my bags were almost last coming off the plane.
The third hurdle was security. After I got my ticket, I had to go through
security again. I was back in the USA and the scrutinizing was more
intense than all the other airports I had been in. The fourth obstacle
– it must be at least a mile from the desk to the B Terminal.
I ran over half of the way and walked swiftly the other half. I was
quite proud of myself. In another month I will be 77 years old. I went
through the airport like O.J. Simpson in the old Hertz commercial.
When I reach the B Terminal, I went left instead of right. (I was certain
the receptionist said B21. She had a heavy accent and hardly spoke English,
and she had to consult a supervisor about everything.) When I arrived
at B21, I was told Delta was at the end of the terminal, in the opposite
direction. I gathered myself, took a deep breath, picked up my bags
and ran the other way, all the way to B52. There I was told Delta was
back the other way – B46. When I reached B46, I was told Delta
was further down. It was gate B42. Unbelievably, I made my connection.
Maybe all the confusion was my fault. I admit I was eager to get home,
and, usually, there is someone to help me.
I almost wished I had missed my flight. It was a rough plane ride. The
plane, a small jet, trembled and bounced through the clouds. It seemed
the plane was dancing to the music of the blowing winds. The pilot had
told us it would be “choppy.” But, once we passed the clouds
it would be better. There is a major difference between "choppy”
and trembling, shaking, and bobbing up and down. There were times I
wondered if we were going to make it.
I thought of all the other times I had been on nerve challenging flights.
I thought to myself what an irony. I have traveled thousand of miles
across the world, only to crash in the USA, somewhere between Washington,
D.C. and New York. I remembered the prayer I always pray before a flight,
“Oh God I am in your hands. If something is going to happens on
this flight and I am not supposed to be on it, you can prevent my boarding,
even at the last minute. Even if the plane goes down, you can save me,
if it is not my time. If it is my time, take care of my family and friends.
‘Let the good I’ve done speak for me’ and my failures
be forgiven. Bear me safely and peacefully to thee, and, grant I may
hear you say ‘well done.’” True to the pilot’s
words, once above the stormy clouds the ride did get smoother –
and prettier. The higher we climbed the calmer it got. Now, the clouds
were fluffy white, sprinkled with blue.
The little plane touched down at Kennedy Airport at 11:20am. God had
brought me safely home. I was deeply, profoundly grateful. My wife,
Dr. Karen and one of the faithful brothers of our church, Trustee James
Simmons, were waiting for me. I walked out into the brisk air of New
York City. On our way home, there was the usually road blockage and
delays here and there, and traffic jams due to road construction. I
remembered something my mother-in-law used to say, “New York is
going to be a great place if they every get it fixed.” But the
traffic jam didn’t bother me. I recalled the roads of Juba.
We pulled into our drive way. Everything looked lovely – even
though the wind had blown over one of the flower pots. After picking
up and putting the flower pot back in its place, I carried my two bags
into the house. Again, I was struck by the beauty of it all. Occasionally,
I used to say to my wife and children, “In my house I want cleanliness,
order, fragrance and beauty.”
Yes, I was home again, “Maybe not for long, but home again.”
And it is still true, “Be it ever so humble, there is no place
like home.” It had been an unforgettable trip. I’m certain
good things will follow.
Attend the Timbuktu Learning Center’s weekly Thursday Night Community
Forums. All Forums are held at the House of the Lord Church from 7pm
Join Operation Life Line if you need assistance or know someone who
needs assistance with their mortgages as it relates to foreclosures,
predatory lending and/or sub prime lending.
Attend NRLAA’s monthly forum Focus on Africa the 2nd Saturday
from 2pm to 4pm.
Organizing Meetings regarding Darfur every Thursday - 12noon @ the House
of the Lord Church
Keep abreast of our Darfurian activities by checking our web page @
Attend the Stop the Genocide in Darfur, Sudan Rally on Friday, April
4, 2008, assemblying