Take Flight

Just think–a year ago today, Ben and I were on the plane, flying to England. In some ways it seems incredible that we did it. After all, I’d wanted to take this trip for a long time. The actual possibility of it coming about was of more recent date, and often over the years I’d shake my head and say, “It’s not going to happen; you might as well forget about it.”

How pleasant it is to be wrong, sometimes.

(This is over France, not England, but who minds that?)

We landed in Manchester–those rows and rows of red-brick houses–but first we had a glimpse of Ireland, Wales, and the Mersey. It cleared nicely just as we arrived near the coast; most of the way across the big water the moon was shining on these billowing folds of countryside–valleys, peaks, plains–that were never seen before, and never will be again.

Chisel

I am a chisel which cuts the wood; the Carpenter directs
it. If I lose my edge, He must sharpen me; if He puts me aside,
and takes another, it is His own good will. None are indispensable
to Him; He will do His work with a straw equally
as well.

Gordon of Khartoum

Shamrock

Hippy Happo feels lucky at Mallyan Spout, near the village of Goathland in Yorkshire

(He also feels lucky, because he has surpassed 50,0000 words on his current novel. Okay, so he isn’t writing it, but he is smart enough to stay out of the way while it is being written. He will continue to do so, because the novel is not finished yet.)

Following

Two months at home, and our trip seems almost a dream, so long ago in the distant past. Funny how time warps like that–dragging, rushing, only rarely behaving in a reasonable manner. What can we do? We’re stuck with it for now.

On the day of the wedding in Wattwil, the hour was growing late–it had been a longish day, stuffed with interactions of the sort that generally accompany a wedding. “I think I’m ready to go home now,” I said. “Which kind of home do you mean?” asked Ben (this was not the first time he had heard me say those very words.) “Oh, back to the house–and England–and HOME home. All three.”

Eventually, we did make it back to the place where we were staying; what a relief to crawl into bed! Weddings are fun, but boy, they sure can be draining. If I’m counting correctly, there were eleven people staying in the house; in spite of that, it didn’t feel crowded, and was comfortably familiar, relatively, by the day of the wedding. Now, we would be flying out the following day, one step further on our adventure, and one step closer to the end of it, too.

It was amazing how home-like England felt after Switzerland. The Swiss people we met were very nice, and the countryside beautiful. It did feel like a foreign country, though, in a way that England did not. Then, as our time abroad drew to a close, the desire to reach home became almost overwhelming. And yet I was sad to leave England. Strange how contrary we are at times.

Now, when I answered that question of Ben’s, I wasn’t directly thinking of the fourth kind of home I am longing for; it never seems to be far from my thoughts, though. When I was four years old, I gave my heart to Jesus. Why? Because I wanted to be with Him in Heaven. There’s a lot more to being a Christian than that, of course, but that was my first desire. That desire has remained with me ever since, until at times I am almost jealous of those who have gone before. Here we are bound by the constraints, the ravages, of time. There, we will be forever with the Lord, free from sin, pain, and separation. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Wizened

Our “Welcome Home” balloons–what’s left of them

These were purported to be representations of Ben and I, albeit two months ago. Can’t speak for Ben, but some days I feel that the current version is not that far off!