It is tough to say good-bye. The drive to Chicago—a three-hour trip from my mom’s home—is talkative. Then the last hour comes. The inevitable is colliding with the present, and the tears in my eyes start flirting with my cheeks.
We do our thing in the airport, and big hugs begin. There is no use hanging on for too long. We walk one way and the ones we love walk the other. Tears drench my face and I console myself, thinking of the all the goodbyes this airport has seen. We go for food, and it almost feels like a date with my husband, until I start thinking beyond the salsa and his smile. More tears.
The security line stands ahead of us. Each step closer to taking my shoes off seems to bring a command for my emotions to unleash. Where did this wet-faced demonstration come from? It is a first for me—usually my pride keeps me from becoming a spectacle.
My shoes come off, my luggage goes on the conveyor belt, and the security check begins. I get the nod, and my feet move toward those size-20 foot imprints on the floor. My hands go up like I am arrested, and the machine does its thing. My tears halt temporarily as I wonder what I look like to the guy eying the camera, but the reprieve is short-lived. Once I no longer feel naked, my tears re-emerge. I am now considered safe, and the end of the security routine shifts me into reverse: passport and little baggie of liquids grabbed, shoes on, belt on, tears wiped, etc.
My husband takes the lead. Tears keep sprouting, and I stop to throw my suitcase onto a table. I manage to wipe my cheeks and secure the liquids into my carry-on, all in one fell swoop. I grab my rolling luggage and quickly dash ahead. Whoops…whoosh. No! Really? My suitcase zipper is not closed. Looking through wet eyes I see my stuff flying and then landing haphazardly on the floor. I do a quick assessment. Oh man! It seems everyone’s eyes are looking. Why did I pack THOSE on top? My husband starts to hustle back to help as I am kneeling down to gather my goods.
Paula—slow down. Paula, I’ve got you. God’s voice is not audible, but I recognize it. It becomes obvious to me that this kneeling position did not come by chance.
I smile, sadly and slowly, and look at my husband. I am embarrassed by my tears and I am embarrassed by, well, THOSE. So what? It is tough to say good-bye. I love the ones we have left behind. I also love my God. I even love those we are soon to see.
The tears keep me company the entire trip, but that is okay. So does He.
Question to consider: What experience in your life has brought you to hear God’s voice saying “I’ve got you”?