It was my every intention to write to you next from somewhere over seas. It would seem, however, that I was wrong to assume that our pilgrimage began only after we landed in Spain, when in fact, it began last Thursday as I said good-bye to those I had come to love and drove away from Washington, DC, thus beginning my journey slowly but surely to Santiago.
After driving seven hours to Ohio, Thursday night, I awoke on Friday and found myself boarding a plane to Denver, somewhat disoriented. As we waited for our plane at the gate, I realized suddenly that I was flying Southwest. You know what that means? Yep…I was going to have to choose my seat. While some may love this privilege, there is something I enjoy and take solace in, on other airlines, knowing that my seat has been chosen for me. That perhaps God played some role in the person or persons sitting to either side of me. And so came my first prayer, one of many, uttered as a pilgrim on this long road to Saint James: “God, I just want to sit where you want me to sit, by whomever you wish me to sit by. Please just choose my seat.”
Such a small prayer (and perhaps somewhat frivolous); and yet, God was about to show me that He was with me and in control of every aspect, small and large, of this journey. As I walked down the aisle of the plane, one of the last to board, facing full overhead baggage bins and only middle seats to choose from, I was becoming quite discouraged as I neared the back of the plane with still no home for my luggage or myself. Quite suddenly, a man shot up out of his seat in front of me and asked “Would you like to sit here?” (referring to the middle seat between he and the young man sitting by the window). Stunned by the offer, I sputtered “I’d love to if I can just find a place for my bag.” He responded quite quickly, “I’ll take care of that.” He proceeded to move several other bags aside to make room for mine as I took my place in the seat. Thanking him for his generosity, I was struck by how blatantly God wished to show me that He was there accompanying me already and that indeed He would be with Krista and I throughout our entire journey just as clearly as He was in that very moment on the plane in the lovely gentleman who offered me a seat. (If you’re reading this, Dan, thank you. I’ll be praying for you, your wife Carolyn, and your children Charlotte and William!)
Tomorrow we fly to Madrid, then it’s on to Ireland, England, and then June 9 begins our journey across Spain: El Camino de Santiago.