July 29, 2010
I’m writing this seated in a plane, getting ready to take off from the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. We will touch down this evening in San José, Costa Rica. Once again, I’m changing planets.
We left Oregon early this morning, in the middle of Northwest Yearly Meeting’s annual sessions. Today is the final day. It’s been a good week, and I’ve felt gratitude for my Quaker heritage—participating in worship (sometimes with song, often in silence), listening to representatives gently work their way through business, taking (and presenting) workshops, sharing many conversations around meals. I’ve been with family, and I’ve loved it.
One small bright moment for me came at the close of one of the afternoon workshops. This was an open-mic poetry reading, with ten participants. We sat in a circle, read original poetry, shared observations and encouraged one another. At the end, a woman from Klamath Falls confessed that my poetry collection (The Secret Colors of God) is the only book she has ever stolen. I found that both wonderful and funny. (Actually, her “crime” was liking it so much she just didn’t return it to the church library. She has since repented, returned the book, and now has her own legitimate copy.)
The pilot is now apologizing for the delay and announcing that any minute we will be taking off, that the “little hole” in the fuselage has been repaired. (I’m not sure I’m glad he told us that.) I’m preparing my spirit to enter a new world. For the next two weeks we will be immersed in a Latin American milieu of theology, academic study, and warm fellowship of another kind. Our seminar times will be intense and our worship together will be loud, vibrant, and active. The only silence will probably be what I introduce the morning I bring the devotional. These are not Quakers. And Latin America is not the Pacific Northwest. But this is a world I also love.
In spite of the differences, strong threads connect my several worlds. We are all broken people in process of being transformed by the Spirit of God. And we are all followers of Jesus, seeking to make a difference in our world.
The little safety movie is now running on the plane’s TV screens, first in English, and then in Spanish. Hal and I have emergency-door seats this time, right over the wing, so I’ve reviewed the instructions on removing the door so people can escape. I trust I will not be put to the test.
I also trust in God’s accompanying presence on this journey and on his lovingly bringing together the various worlds of my life. Jesus is Lord.