We are tooling along on the Autobahn, driving the rental car for all it’s worth, but the German drivers are speeding around us as though we’re sitting still. I’ve got the map on my lap, and Darren is counting on me to get us to Ramstein with no detours. My hands are shaking though because my stomach is doing cartwheels again. The speed we’re going is making me a nervous wreck.
It doesn’t help that the lunch we ate two hours ago made me nauseous. Plus, when the waitress brought our food, she leaned past me to give Darren his jagerschitzel, and I got more than a glimpse of her hairy armpit. Ohhh. My tummy was already a bit queasy from the “Halb Hunerfleisch” that she’d put in front of me. It literally LOOKED like a chicken-chopped right in half, lengthwise, including part of the neck and one foot. All that was missing was the head.
I force myself to stop thinking about the chicken and look closely at the map again as we speed past the exits.
“Did you see that?” Darren asks me suddenly.
“No, of course not! I’m too busy trying to figure out this dumb map.” I angrily shake the map at him and settle back again against the seat. I am grumpy. Big time.
“It was a sign about the base…it said something about so many kilometers, I think.” He slides his eyes cautiously toward me, checking out my mood. He decides not to press his luck and doesn’t say another word.
“Oh, that’s just great!” I pull the map closer to my face and try to focus on the numbers and foreign words I see. I sigh. It’s no use; I just can’t figure out where the right exit is. I can’t understand the words at all. I lean my head back and shut my eyes for awhile. I try to concentrate on the future…our baby…but all I can think about is the past.
It was not in my plans to move halfway around the world when Darren and I got married three years ago. I knew he was planning to join the Air Force, but it didn’t occur to me that it might mean we’d end up living in Germany, not to mention that we just found out three months ago that our first child is on the way.
It still brings tears to my eyes to think that my child will be born away from home, away from grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles and all the other people who mean so much to Darren and me. I shake my head and open my eyes just in time to glimpse a sign that says something about Ramstein AFB…I think it said 20 miles…or would that be 20 kilometers? I am not ready for this.
Finally, we spot a huge sign that even I can’t miss and take the exit toward the base. The scenery changes from concrete expressway to rolling hills and gentle pastures. The roads are narrower and the villages, quaint.
We slow down to pass through a small town, and I watch an old lady carefully take her wet laundry from a basket and hang it on a line. She sees me and smiles and waves. I shyly wave back. We drive a few more miles, and along the way I watch the people going about their work, shopping and laughing and greeting one another. When they see us, they wave and smile.
Hmm. Maybe this won’t be so bad after all. When we stop at a red light, I spot an elderly minister putting the title for his Sunday sermon on the message board in front of his church. I squint to concentrate on the words as he slowly spells them out: Gott Liebt Dich…Vertrauern Ihm. He then begins to add the English translation at the bottom: God Loves You…Trust Him
I blink back tears as we pull away and turn my head to read the board again. The minister looks right at me and then smiles as he points skyward. A peace and calm that I haven’t felt since we landed in Germany this morning envelopes me. I smile.
I lean over and kiss Darren on the cheek. He smiles back at me and I see his shoulders relax for the first time today. As I concentrate on our future, I suddenly know that whatever God has planned for us, it will be an awesome adventure.
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