Posted by: ritagone | July 9, 2014

Away We Go!

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“I think of him now, ragged and lost, staggering across a desert, the path behind him littered with all the shiny little pieces that life has ripped from him.”

That was a quote from my most recent read, Khaled Hosseini’s “And the Mountains Echoed,” which I highly recommend if you like novels that spread out generationally and tell a story that both grip your heart and make you think.

I love that little quote for the profundity of what it represents: a picture of aging, of what happens as we lose pieces of ourselves because of physical or mental deterioration, “shiny little pieces” that get ripped away from us through no fault of our own and that diminish us more and more with each passing year.

On the eve of one of our undertakings to Russia, a trip that has always proven both taxing and transforming, this quote really spoke to me. Traveling is broadening in the sense that it opens you up to new places, new people, new experiences. Yet it is also narrowing in that every time you go somewhere, especially as you get older, you realize that you may never walk this way again, and there’s a tremendous pathos in that sentiment and awareness. So you are constantly flooded with varying emotions: Am I staying healthy on this trip? What would happen if I got ill? If my husband got ill? (He’s battling a kidneystone, so that’s a very real possibility.) Is this going to be the time that everything goes wrong? Will politics win over mission work, and will we become victims of political intrigue, never to be seen again in our own country? (Hey, it could happen!) What if our luggage gets stolen? What if we’re mugged? (That has happened to Michael, not to me.) So many questions – most of them fear-based, all of them circling around the fact that I’m not 25 anymore, probably shouldn’t be doing this anymore, what was I thinking when I said yes, what an idiot I am! That’s what runs through my mind every time I am a few days away from getting on a plane, particularly with a destination like Moscow in mind. After all, it’s not like hopping on a plane to Las Vegas, baby.

But then I remember that God lives in Moscow too. And He travels on airplanes also. He goes through airports and baggage claims. He’s there in Customs. When you get off the plane, He’s still with you and with the people meeting you at the airport. He’s in the faces of the people you will be working with, and the people you will be speaking to and hopefully helping, just as they wind up helping you in ways that you never could have imagined. He’s there in the laughter and the beauty of a place that tugs at your heart when you’re away from it and that overwhelms you with its sense of history when you’re right there standing on its ground, whether it’s the Red Square and Kremlin of Moscow or the Hermitage of St. Petersburg.

And so on the verge of yet another voyage into the sort-of unknown, I’m shaking off the fear and the concern and not willing that any shiny little pieces of me go flying away into the ether in a negative sense. No, if I’m going to lose something of myself on this trip in July of 2014, let it be because I threw myself into the task at hand: living every minute to the fullest and being all that Jesus wants me to be to the people around me, whoever they may wind up being.

So off we go, into the wild blue yonder, as they say.

I may not write a Rita’s Ramblings on the 16th or 23rd of July, because I’m not sure what our Internet service will be like on either of those dates. But know that whatever I’m doing, I’m trying to do it as the faithful servant of the God of the Universe!!

Wow!! Kind of changes one’s travel perspective, doesn’t it?

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