Blain Brogging — that’s a great (borrowed) phrase from David Ker to describe what my very tired brain was doing in the 63 hours that I was trying to fly home from Alaska (See Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3).
I’d been trying to get on a standby flight for more than 25 hours, and was following my list of flights out of Anchorage in chronological order, just trying to get anywhere in the “lower 48.” What was the next flight option? Phoenix, Arizona! Amazing. That’s where our oldest son, Jeremy lives. Now I was pretty sure this was the next blessing God had for me, and I was right (from my viewpoint, a much better option than Las Vegas, which would’ve been next on the list).
Sure enough, I finally flew out of Anchorage on the 12:30 am flight and landed in Phoenix at 7:00 am, with very little sleep due to a baby that cried the entire 6 hours (as I prayed for strength for the Mother). Guess who was on the flight with us? Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor! I spoke to her briefly and told her that my husband is an Attorney and Judge in Wyoming. She squeezed my hand, patted my shoulder and spoke to me a short time. I don’t know if I was over-emotionalizing things at this point in my fatigue, but for me, seeing her on board told me that Justice would prevail — God would make things right; He is always Good, Just and Present! He balances everything out in our lives, between trials and blessings, questions and answers, wrongs and rights, revelation and mystery.
After arriving in Phoenix, getting some breakfast, checking e-mail and securing a hotel and rental car, I drove to Jeremy’s new home, which is in a community south of Phoenix about 30 minutes. We had a wonderful time together — great meals, a tour of the new home he is renting, a drive around town to see all the sights, including the school where he will be teaching music classes. We also shared lots of laughter, hugs and photos. And I thought, Well, well — so this was the surprise God had in store for me, and the reason I couldn’t get out on any of the six previous flights. Icing on the cake.
Last of all, we shared a great mealtime at a restaurant and experienced a wonderful, deep discussion about the new events in his life, about God, about weather patterns (such as the monsoon that had just landed in Phoenix a couple days before), about politics and family. We were both so touched by this time that God had given us together, especially in conversation. Then I returned to Phoenix for a motel room near the airport.
In keeping with the previous three days, my devotions on the morning of my flight out of Phoenix to Denver were perfect. One of the things Jeremy had mentioned to me was the various names of God, and this is exactly what my devotion was about: “It is remarkable how many names and titles are associated with Jesus Christ (meaning ‘anointed Savior’) in the first chapter of John’s gospel” (Days of Praise, August 31, 2008). It then mentioned various names of Jesus — “the true Light,” “the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,” “the Lord,” “the Lamb of God,” “the Son of God,” “Master,” “Messiah,” “Jesus of Nazareth,” “King of Israel,” “the Son of Man” and “The Word.” Why only names of Jesus? “He is always the One who reveals, speaks for, manifests, explains and incarnates the Heavenly Father.” I agree, although I love the Old Testament names of God as well — which we also spoke about the night before — “Yahweh,” “El Shaddai,” “Jehovah-Rophe” and others. Each of these also point to Jesus, as does every story in the Old Testament.
It’s interesting that along the way I was also reading the novel The Shack, by William P. Young, which has a wonderful depiction of the Lord in a way that bridges gender, race and color — something Jeremy and I had also talked about the night before, previous to the morning’s reading when I reached the particular surprise chapter which reveals the start of an amazing story of God.
What was in my daily devotional from John Piper? The title was “What Did Christ Purchase for Your Children with His Blood? (#124 in his book Taste and See). He asks several questions, such as “Did the blood of Christ not unite families across generations?” and “Do all the children of believers love God and keep covenant with him by faith in Christ?” and “Did the blood of Christ purchase no privileges for the children of believers?” Then he explains: “Yes. Christ did purchase privileges for the children of believers. But he did not guarantee their salvation…a parent’s faith does not secure a child’s…A Christian parent may face this choice: allegiance to Christ or allegiance to child? But I say again, yes, Christ did purchase privileges for the children of believers…There is a good that comes to the children of believers…This ‘good’ is not the guarantee of faith, but the gift of God’s Word (Deuteronomy 6:6-7), the restraint of God’s discipline (Ephesians 6:4), the demonstration of God’s love (Colossians 3:21), and the power of prayer (Job 1:5)…Christian parents honor the blood of Jesus when they follow his ways for the sake of their children.”
I think it goes both ways — I am definitely blessed by the faith of our children. I gain new truths through their struggles, questions and failings as well as from the insights, joys and victories they share with us. I was blessed to have met up with Chris in Alaska, Jeremy in Arizona (unexpectedly) and will soon have time again with Sarah in Kansas.
Did I have any trouble getting on flights from Phoenix to Denver and on to Wyoming? Not one bit — in fact, both flights had 20+ seats available on them! I realized the reason the flights out of Anchorage had been so full was because of all the men traveling to and from Alaska for fishing trips, as well as the final summer cruise passengers. My flight into Wyoming had nothing but men on it (other than the flight attendant and me) — about a dozen men — and every one of them were arriving in Wyoming for the hunting season. I couldn’t help but think, It’s the rutting season, for man and beast. When I walked in the house, my husband was sitting in front of the TV watching football (which is what Jeremy was doing when I arrived at his house, and what Chris was doing when I called him). The “rutting season” is a time when men (and yes — women) participate in all the traditionally male/macho activities of the season — fishing, hunting, watching football, etc. — but that will be the subject of another story in the near future. In the meantime, I had an opportunity to hop on the mortorcycle for a nice afternoon ride with my husband. I wasn’t sure if I could even hold on well enough in my exhausted state, but sure didn’t want to miss the opportunity to enjoy a pleasant afternoon together. I will post a conclusion to the story of my return from Alaska later.