Perspectives on Spiritual, Intellectual and Pastoral Issues: Host – Lowell Qualls

Posts tagged ‘Travel’

Life In A Faster Line

It can get so quiet in an airport. As passengers, and in my case, would-be passengers, wait for a weather update from up north it can become quite still – very much like the sound, or lack thereof, of a professional golf tournament crowd when a contender is standing over THE crucial putt.

Today it’s quiet in the main terminal of the Southwest Florida International Airport – the airport that serves Fort Myers, Florida. Eerily quiet, considering just a few hundred miles to our north the sky is exploding. Last night The Weather Channel estimated that “tens of thousands of lightening strikes” and roaring thunder filled the airways from Mississippi to the eastern Kentucky state line. They predicted that today would be “more of the same,” and they were right. Right now a gigantic storm 800 miles long and 500 miles wide is saturating the flight corridors of the whole Atlantic seaboard, from northern Florida to southern New Jersey.

A single storm.

I’m headed north, into the teeth of the maelstrom. I’m now separated from my travel buddy – Becky. She was able to get out on the Noon flight. Me? I hope to catch US Airways flight 1810 – Fort Myers to Charlotte, North Carolina – that is supposed to leave at 3 PM but has been delayed another two hours, to five.

What if I miss my flight?

That would be inconvenient … requiring separate trips to the airport, just hours apart – the first to pick up Becky and the second to pick me up. And what if I’m delayed again in Charlotte? Will that put me into Richmond tomorrow? Will I lose a whole day because God scheduled reservoir-filling rain for today?

I’ve got another trip coming up. My departure will be right on time, with no chance of delay. I’ve had my ticket punched since the moment of my conception – when Claude’s sperm met Retha’s egg. “I was woven together in the dark of the womb” that God sees like it’s lit up with noon-day sun. “Every day of my life is recorded” in God’s book – the one He reads like yesterday’s news. And I’m on time.

While I’m waiting at the gate, how will I invest my time?

Here, at SFIA I can enjoy a latte, read up on the NFL draft, make a few time-filling phone calls … just waiting. Just waiting, waiting, waiting.

Or I can be more pro-active in my waiting – writing, praying, strategizing (while I drink my latte).

I have this sense that we’re all waiting … every man woman and child on planet earth … we’re all waiting at The Gate. And every person’s ticket is in order; no computer foul ups or human error complicating things. And every flight to The Wild Blue Yonder is right on time.

With only two destinations on the board, there’s no clickety-clack in the background like you’d hear in a European train station. Two long lines of human beings – men, women, children – are snaking in opposite directions, one headed for Concourse A and one toward Concourse B.

Today I’m thinking about those who have made the flight before me. I’m wondering if my waiting time is making a difference.

I’m watching people in the line I’m standing in leaving the queue, running over to some familiar soul in the other line, grabbing their arm, shaking them up with the news that there’s life to be had in one line and death in the other, and gently but urgently pulling them toward the other line.

Funny, I watch people from BOTH lines running to family and friends in the opposite line, and debating the pros and cons of changing lines. Both parties chatter. Both parties insist. “Sure you can change lines!” “My destination is set in stone.” “My destination is better than yours.”

Nobody talks about change fees.

There seems to be a faster lane. I wonder if that means anything?

Dallas-Fort Worth Airport – Tornados Cancel Flights

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ANABELLE GARAY, an Associated Press Writer, made this report (© 2008 The Associated Press):

DALLAS — A series of storms packing strong winds and heavy rains hit North Texas on Tuesday, grounding hundreds of flights, forcing an airport control tower to evacuate briefly and sending floodwaters spilling into Dallas-area streets.  Winds of more than 100 mph briefly were reported at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where lightning struck a ramp earlier Tuesday.  Airport officials said the strongest winds occurred in microbursts and caused no damage.  More than half of the 950 flights for all airlines scheduled to depart DFW on Tuesday were canceled, airport officials said.  More than 100 incoming flights were diverted.

“This is one of the most vicious thunderstorms DFW has seen in quite some time, especially its ongoing intensity,” said airport spokesman Ken Capps.  “We know it can be frustrating for passengers, but everyone’s top priority is their safety.”

It’s unclear how many travelers were affected by the cancellations, but airport officials estimate about 160,000 passengers pass through DFW each day.

Federal Aviation Administration officials evacuated DFW’s west tower for about 15 minutes after seeing a funnel cloud over a highway.  A funnel cloud was also spotted over Lake Lewisville, just north of the airport.

South Dallas had around 4 1/2 to 5 inches of rain by late afternoon, said Ted Ryan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

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I was on one of those “100 incoming flights” that was diverted away from the dangerous storms that struck the Dallas/Fort Worth area today.  American Airlines flight 343 out of Richmond, Virginia, ended up going to Houston instead of Dallas, and we – the passengers and me – stayed in Houston for six hours before finally arriving at our intended destination.  I missed my connecting flight.img_0537.jpg

Big deal!

Being safe was a lot more important than being on time today.  For me, I think I had my priorities straight in my own mind.  And while sleeping on a cot in DFW International is not as comfortable as my own bed, I’

d much rather be on a cot than in a body bag.  Perspective.

There were a few boneheads complaining about the weather, and cancelled flights … but very, very few.  Most of the people (99.99%) that ended up at DFW this evening didn’t make life miserable for themselves and others.  And I’

m choosing not to focus on that .01% that make you scratch your head and wonder where they were when common sense img_0532.jpgwas being handed out.

As I lay my head down tonight in Terminal D – DFW, I’m reminded of this Psalm:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 

He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  (Psalm 91, NIV, selected verses)

Thank You, God, for protecting me today.

Creation – God Loves to Blow Our Minds

  

Enjoy!

This is one of the best photos I’ve ever taken … and for it to be of Quomulongma (Mt. Everest) humbles me.

I was very blessed that day. I had my two sons with me – Brandon and Chris – and they enjoyed this trip of a lifetime immensely.

Pubu, me, Chen – and Mt. Everest

With PuBu and Chen at EverestThe patch I’m holding in my left hand is from “Blue Ridge Mountain Sports.”

I gave them a few pictures of the mountain, with their logo patch in the foreground.

If you go to their Midlothian, Virginia – Chesterfield Towne Center (Mall) store, you’ll see one or two.

I hope to return to China and Tibet sometime in this lifetime. If not, then the next.

EPIC – New Perspectives

Mt. Everest 

   People have been asking me, “What are you doing?” My response, typically, is, “I’m writing … and waiting.” I’m writing articles and books (like “One Little Bite” “Dancing With The Healer,” “At Cross Purposes,” and “Under New Management”), and I’m waiting for God to open doors that will allow for face-to-face ministry … ministry to congregations and pastors.

The only clues I’ve received from Him as to what I might be doing in the future revolve around the following paragraphs that describe something called “EPIC.” Back in June and July of 2005 God spoke to me about the following:

EPIC (Eternal Perspectives In Christ, or E-Perspectives International Corporation) will “Challenge Conventional Thinking, Provide Innovative Solutions, and Produce World-Changing People” in two spheres:

1. The way churches and pastors approach and do local, national and international missions (including the support and selection of home and foreign missionaries in particular) and mission trips (cultural exposures, building/construction, medical, evangelistic, etc.), and …
2. The way pastors and church leaders approach local church ministry.

These two primary goals will be accomplished by using four means or methods:

1. Books and magazine articles,


2. Seminars and conferences,


3. Video materials, and …


4. One-on-one mentoring relationships

By “Challenge Conventional Thinking” I mean, to address the American and Western postmodern Church “consumer mindset,” and the misplaced priorities and values of that Church. I believe these things are rooted in secular, contemporary culture (that has been shaped by postmodern, existential, nihilistic, and relativistic philosophies) as opposed to being based upon the teachings of Jesus Christ concerning the Kingdom of God.

I believe the end result will be changed churches and church leaders – “World-Changers,” or “World-Changing People.” These churches and church leaders would not be “mainstream” as much as they would be “swimming up stream” – against the current of the culture. Scary thought, eh?

In order to bring about change, I hope to “Provide Innovative Solutions” to the contemporary Church. I believe that by reexamining biblical principles, values and priorities, change will occur in the Church to better reflect Kingdom principles, values and priorities. I will be using the following to encourage change: print and electronic media, teaching that revolves around what I have learned about these things after 30+ years of ministry, introducing current “World-Changers” to my audiences, and opportunities to experience (“hands-on”) intercultural adventures. I will also make myself available to mentor prospective “World-Changers.”