Well, we made it home safely after several adventures. Our time of departure from Green Lake Conference Center was 12:30 PM. We got off without incident, and our group even managed to make a new acquaintance along the way (if you’re reading this, hi Adam). We were expecting about a two hour wait until we departed for Chicago, and it turned out that our flight actually left about 20 minutes earlier than we had first planned. That’s the good news. That bad news is that we left earlier because the flight we were supposed to be on had been delayed and we’d been bumped to the earlier flight which was leaving near the time for which we had originally been scheduled.
I had a nice conversation with my seat-mate on the flight. He’s engaged, but they “aren’t in a hurry” to get married. This is a common phenomena nowadays – it fascinates me, given that everyone knows they are cohabiting (and not infrequently procreating) and yet everyone agrees that the couple “isn’t married.” This is something folks in the Biblical world wouldn’t have understood. Anyway, my seat-mate and I watched as we flew over thunderstorm after thunderstorm and a pretty-much unbroken layer of clouds until we got to Chicago.
When we landed our flight had already been delayed 20 minutes. By the time we arrived, O’Hare was already swamped with delayed and diverted passengers. Amazingly enough, as our group arrived to the gate another group got up and left – leaving us enough seats to stay together. This turned out to be a good thing – because we were going to end up at O’Hare for a long time. Delay after delay after delay ended up putting our “6 something” flight to more like a “9:45-ish” flight (Central Time). While we waited, I shot some video (I won’t up it up on youtube until folks give me permission), we all grabbed some dinner, and coffee was acquired at one of the 2 dozen or so Starbucks that we had in my terminal.
During our long delay, I managed to make the acquaintance of a man from Nigeria who worked as an actuary. He was a Christian and was fascinated by the quirky pastors we had in my group. His biggest concern during our wait was that he would miss his Church’s prayer vigil – he was a nice man. He did manage to freak me out, however, when he asked if I’d watch his bag for a bit while he stretched his legs. This is a huge no-no in the post-911 world so i couldn’t do it, but I felt that Jesus also wouldn’t let him carry his own bag while he walked, so I offered to carry it for him and we could walk together. He didn’t let me carry his bag, but we took a nice stroll through the crowded airport. My new friend’s son is heading to the University of Virginia to study business in the fall, and he and his son had just been down there looking for a Church he could attend while in school. Impressed, I asked him if his son had initiated the search and he smiled and said, “No, there are some things you let your children find their own way on, and other in which you give them a wise path to walk.” This impressed me even more and so I replied, “And yet, we so often only really learn when we step off that path.” “Yes,” he replied, “I tell my children, ‘You don’t have to do this the hard way,’ but because they haven’t come to Jesus from another life they just don’t understand that.” I didn’t get a chance to ask him what his story was – I wish I had, perhaps our paths will cross again in the future.
Our plane eventually lifted off (the last plane to Philly that night), and we got home without much incident. As we flew, my friend Frank and I watched Juno, it’s a nice movie. The only other thing I can say about the trip is that Bruce is a saint. He was at Philly Airport for so long that the parking company charged him for two days. Sigh – we’ll have to do something seriously nice for him.
I expect videos and more images to be up “soon.” Thanks for reading.