Mar 15, 2006

Meditations on the Portland Airport

I’ve been open to the idea of sleeping in an airport. Until tonight. The problem seems to be that it doesn’t actually work. Granted, the guy five chairs down from me is breathing evenly, occasionally slipping into a light snore; and the traveler-girl with the army green backpack and windbreaker has only rustled a few times. But still, it doesn’t work. Not only that, I’m starting to get hungry. My computer thinks its 4:30 AM (Pensacola time, where my trip started almost a week ago), my body thinks its 5:30 AM (Palm Beach time), and the clock says its 2:30 AM (Portland time, where I’ve just spent the last hour and a half trying to sleep, and the half-hour before that walking the C, A, and B concourses looking for an alive Alaska Airlines person. (Hint—they’re not alive at night, just the opposite, in fact.) To be true, the B concourse only consisted of three gates, but still… Not only have I taken to sleeping in random airports (my final destination is not any of the three aforementioned towns, of course), I have taken to doing it ugly. Yes, sorry to disappoint, but there it is. Were you one of the cleaning staff who occasionally putters by disturbing the sleeping innocent with wild chatter about the game, or were you the deep Archangel-type voice who periodically pulls me back from the brink of sleep to graciously remind me that due to increased security measures, I am only allowed one carry-on and one personal item per flight, and that only ticketed passengers can take off their sneakers and go through the x-ray torture lines, and that I must not (must not) leave my laptop-phone-wallet-passport-boardingpass-lipgloss-waterbottle-andeverythingmostnecessarytolife luggage conglomeration unattended (as I usually do in dark public places), then you would see a girl wearing—not contacts, not trendy glasses—but 80’s era round cokebottles that are three prescriptions too weak. So weak, in fact, I can’t tell which airline’s counters I’m passing. It makes for a very twilight-zone walk through deserted concourses. (I’m under strict instructions from my ophthalmologist friend—whose house I happened to be at just when my eye started watering mysteriously—to wear my contacts as little as possible for a few days. Hmph. I hope she appreciates the sacrifices involved.)

This trip has been opposed in every travel mode (car, bike, and plane), but I’ve no doubt it’s where I’m supposed to be, when I’m supposed to be. (Oh, I forgot to tell you the Starbucks here doesn’t open until 5 AM.) The car’s brakes gave out and the dealerships in the towns I was in said it would be a $1,000 repair; the bike’s thin tires couldn’t handle the sand of Sanibel Island and as a result I have a painful bruise on my ankle; and the wind in New Jersey has stretched my trip from Florida to Seattle into an almost 24 hour saga. On the plus side, I’ve been invited to Finland. And that comes after an invitation to Romania just yesterday. I doubt I’ll ever take advantage of these offers, but one never knows when one will need friends in foreign lands. Just so you know, the blueberries are sweeter and larger in northern Finland, due to the midnight sun. Oop. Snoring-boy has woken up. I hope it’s not due to my typing noises. (The very comforting thing about walking around wearing cokebottles? I’m not afraid of anyone (except for the fact that they all look like dark blobs). One gains a great confidence with these things on. When it’s impossible to be uglier, life seems promising. I can now wander benevolently, gazing with compassion on those more fortunate than myself. Oh dear—like the pale red-head in first class whose blanket I snatched from the overhead bin, then meekly returned with a “would you like this one, sir?” when he popped up and began rustling around for one himself. “Sir”! I was instantly ashamed of myself. He was probably younger than me. “Sir”! Now that I think of it, he looked like a cousin I’ve only met once in adult life. “Sir”! Ah, the formalities due the poor who’ve paid an extra $500 dollars for their flight. They at least deserve their blankets, eh? Must get something tangible out of it besides the fun of watching (while pretending to not) all the economy class people herding past after you’ve already been seated. (Is that what first class is for, by the way? I’ve always been a little confused. They must pay all that money for something other than a glass of bubbly and seat-room extended by three inches all around.)

I intended to write, but in this mood I’m afraid I’d have my character thumbing her nose at all the rich and poor alike, and waltzing off onto tangents that would only make sense to a heroine living at least 1600 years later. In lieu, I’ll close up shop here and wander back over to Alaska Airlines. They have a flight leaving at 5 AM; perhaps someone will be manning the counter now that it is 3.

Too-da-loo, as Wooster would say! Love to you all,


Mar 2, 2006

Inevitability Continued...

"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith--that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church..." Ephesians 3:14-21

Above is another ocean photo for you. Take a look at this scripture in Ephesians (bolding added, of course). You may think it cheesy or typical, but when I am by the ocean my thoughts always end up centering on Love. The vastness and sureness of God's love looks like the ocean to me. It is huge, gargantuant beyond my ability to comprehend. It is strong; I would drown in it if His arm didn't sustain me. It is inevitable; much as I might resist, it will win me and own me in the end.

Ephesians 3 is talking about this love...its ocean like qualities of height, depth, breadth and length...and concluding that Christ's love surpasses knowledge. It, like the ocean, is beyond our ability to know, understand, comprehend. But take another look at this scripture. " him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think..." HE is able to make us know a love that is impossible for human beings to know. He can do the impossible in us. HOW? By the strength, the power of the Spirit.

I surely would drown if I were to enter the ocean on my own. I haven't the strength to explore it, to face it, and to live through the experience. Likewise, as a human being, I haven't the strength to encounter, to know, God's love without being destroyed--it is beyond my ability. Not only does He pour out such intensity of love on us, He give us another gift (strength/power) to enable us to walk in that love.

I am amazed; and I definitely need that strength. May we all comprehend His love!


I spent the weekend at the sea. It was the ocean, really (better yet, the Gulf). Light and airy (white and turquoise) compared to my other recent beach stay in Washington State, which was moist, diffused, gray and chilly. Yet both left me with the same sense of a vast and beautiful inevitability.

God is inevitable. Do I resist His love? No matter—the reality of it will not change. Do I doubt His sovereignty? Pointless—that, also, will never change. Do I deny His existence? Also laughable, for it will never change. In fact, TRUTH will eventually overtake me in every belief, thought-pattern, argument, resistance, blindness, or lie I have ever walked in. The truth is inevitable for all of us. When it overtakes us (now or at death) can be influenced by us, now. Where it places us (at the side of the King or in a pit of separation) is also determined by us, now. But the fact that it will overtake us is as inevitable as the sea.

“I will call them My people who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ there they shall be called sons of the living God.” Romans 9:25-26

I have been comparing righteousness by the law and righteousness by faith. How very different they are. The second makes me feel free, the first, guilty. This Romans/Hosea adoption (see verse above) is impossible through a mechanism like law-righteousness (for, never being able to be fully righteous through the law, one is actually fully condemned). Only through the righteousness of faith (full, complete, since it is a righteousness sourced from He who is perfectly righteous) could such a complete reversal of what was reality take place. What used to be, is no longer.

That righteousness by the law/works is on the hell side of this thick, black line, and righteousness by faith in Jesus is on the heaven side, is as inevitable as the sea. Do you hate the thought? Are you so used to “getting to heaven” or “feeling God’s love” by being good, that the idea of having been wrong about it all is unthinkable—it would throw your whole past life into the red side of the accounting ledger? (Yes, you can be caught in this habit of action and belief while actually knowing the truth.) You will eventually be free from the misapprehension you now labor under, but a choice is still before you—freedom now, or freedom later. Love now, or love later. And, for some even, salvation now, or death later? Why should I shy away from pursuing the truth now? It is pursuing me, and question is not if it will overtake me, but when.