Road to Healing – Lenten Journey 2014
Our first parish was in a town called Cupertino about 50 miles south of San Francisco, an area that was developing its identity as Silicon Valley as we were developing our identity as a family. All of our children were born here.
A pastor’s family is always blessed with having so many aunts and uncles. The kind people of the parish and our family engaged in what I call reciprocal-adoption. It was a special time in our life, and very rich with “family” especially considering that both my and my wife’s parents, brothers, sisters and their children all live well over 400 miles away in Southern California.
My brother found every opportunity he could to come and visit with us and his nephews. He’d take the 1 hour airplane trip up the coast and we’d be on the receiving end to pick him up at San Jose Airport. Many times we’d get there a bit early and park our car at the end of the runway and watch the planes take off and land. We’d do it for the boys but I think it was obvious who got the most excitement out of these excursions. And then, when that big Southwest airplane rumbled the air above us and landed down aways, I’d point to it and tell the kids, “There’s Uncle Haig! Let’s go pick him up.” We’d drive over to the terminal in time to watch him come off the plane.
After the weekend – or sometimes we’d be lucky and get him a bit longer – we’d take Uncle Haig to the airport. This time we’d walk him all the way to the gate (yes, this is a bit of pre-9/11 history), say our good-byes and watch the plane back out. San Jose Airport was perfect for plane watching. We’d get in the car and go to the end of the runway. As the plane took off from the tarmac to the sky we’d wave, “Bye Uncle Haig!”
Now when the kids were very small, when we’d get home they’d be playing in the yard and their sharp senses would spot a plane high up in the sky. They would get so happy and excited as they pointed to the small object in the sky, “Look dad. Look mom. There’s Uncle Haig.”
In response to their cuteness, we’d play along with an assuring, “There he goes… wave to him…”
At various times – perhaps days or even weeks later – between visits, our kids would spot a plane say with the same enthusiasm as moments after the flight took off, “There’s Uncle Haig.” And with their little hands they’d wave to the plane high up in the sky.
It was on one of his visits that my brother figured out that our children thought that he was in a perpetual state of flight! They would say goodbye to their uncle at the airport… He’d get on the plane… then the next time they’d see him he’d be coming off the plane. For all they knew, he was always in flight until the next time they’d see him, once again coming off the plane. Think of it in terms of a 3 or 4 year old. Without the knowledge that planes land elsewhere to deliver and pick up passengers, you would assume the flight has a circular route, beginning and ending with you. Why would you think otherwise? As we mature, our world view changes and our understanding of the world develops as we connect the dots between events, places, people and feelings. And soon we, as did my kids, have a new understanding. Uncle Haig got on a plane to come to see us… he lives somewhere else… he needs to return to that somewhere else… and we look forward to his next visit.*
As much as you don’t want your children to grow up with a skewed perception of reality, there is something to be said about the naiveté and innocence of their primal understandings of life.
Francis Bacon has said, “Knowledge is power.” Now it remains for us to understand what that power is. As we are moving forward on this Road to Healing, we have matured in many ways. Through our meditations and prayers, we have connected dots between our illnesses, their causes and our control (or lack of control) over the variety of factors in the healing process. But understanding doesn’t necessarily mean control over events. Rather, it means reconciliation and control over our self.
Understanding that the plane doesn’t stay up in the sky forever, doesn’t mean we control the flight nor do we have the power to alter its properties. The power is in our ability to reconcile and take control of our self.
Here is a prayer for this day of our journey. It is an ancient Armenian blessing, appealing to the Holy Cross along with a simple meditation: The Cross of Christ can be understood or misunderstood. Its understanding does not change reality, but brings reconciliation and control over our lives.
Keep us in peace, O Christ our God, under the protection of your holy and precious cross; save us from our enemies, visible and invisible, and count us worthy to glorify you with thanksgiving, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
I look forward to meeting with you again tomorrow on the Road to Healing.
*Disclaimer: Space and time were not altered, skewed or changed as a result this blog.
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for epostle.net
Photo: Plane Cloud by Sona Smith (2014)
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