A long way from home. I’m filled with trepidation for reasons beyond my understanding. Ok, maybe my self imposed reasons are not so far fetched. I’m flying for the first time. I live close to the international airport in Lagos and my window has a perfect angle for viewing the taking off and landing of planes. I’m familiar with the sounds and lights and could tell without looking if a close aircraft was actually landing or taking off and in what direction.
Unfortunately that’s all I know. Not much, and It certainty doesn’t help now. What I never prepared for was the day I would actually fly in a plane. The hour is upon me now and I’m seated in economy class, glued to the seat, my eyes wide with fright, my knuckles white from gripping the arm rest too hard and my muscles failing to relax. Not even the earlier excitement of visiting Canada could calm me now. I try to think of the processes that led me to this point and how I got the idea about the vacation.
The Vacations website was colourful with pictures of sights and exotic places billed to entice. I have an eye for the aesthetic so it was definitely a must see for me. Before I knew it I was considering vacation options; hotels, tours, concerts, adventure trips, cruises and all. I had to double check with my bank though; I don’t want to get stuck somewhere across the Atlantic.
Names and places seem to jump off the page at me; Lake Louise Inn in Alberta, Inverness Falls Resort in Manitoba, Blue Mountain Resort in Ontario, the list was endless. I found the enquiries page, wanting to know what they offered. This is my first ever vacation out of my country and I wanted it good.
My time travel had hardly begun when I feel a tug at my sleeve. I look down beside me and seated is the loveliest little girl I had ever seen. Clear fair skin and curly black hair and thick brows, about four years old and probably Indian. Her shrill voice broke through my reverie. ‘Are you scared?’ She said through the gap in her mouth where two teeth were clearly missing.
‘Huh, well... am not exactly scared, but it’s …it’s my first time flying’. I whispered like it was a secret I wanted her to keep.
‘Really? It’s my first time too. My momma’s going to see doctor in Mumbai but we have to get to Canada first, my daddy said so’, her voice lowered as she spoke. I detected a hint of sadness.
‘A doctor? What’s the matter?’ I asked.
‘She’s got to have an ‘opavation’, that’s all I know’, she looked toward a woman in a beautiful sari, she looked peaceful in her sleep but with laboured breathing.
‘You mean she’s going for an operation?’
‘Are you scared?’ I asked. She smiled this pretty, tiny smile and looked up at me.
‘No, I’m not. Jesus keeps her. She’s only going to Mumbai because doctor is my uncle. But Jesus keeps her’, she concluded with a slight nod as if for emphasis.
I couldn’t help but think that this little girl knew better than I did. Jesus keeps her mother and he keeps me too. Why couldn’t I believe like a child?
‘So, are you scared?’ She asked, her bright eyes looking intently at me.
‘Yes, I must confess. I have been scared since our plane took off. I shouldn’t be, right?
Well I guess I have to learn from you’.
She smiled shyly and went ahead to give me the best child sermon I’ve ever heard.
‘On Sunday morning, aunty told us about Joseph, you know him?’ I nodded.
‘His brothers were mean and they sent him away but he was not scared. God took care of him till he saw his father again. When my daddy said my mommy needs operation he cried but he smiled again and said Jesus keeps her. So don’t be scared. Ok?’
She patted my hand and rested back in her seat.
I looked out through the window and sighed. Another good thing about deciding on this vacation, I thought, I needed to hear that. No more fear about those little things. If a little girl could trust Jesus about her mother’s health, what was my problem?
I had a feeling I just experienced the best part of my vacation.
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