Monday, June 9, 2008


My parents left Saturday for a three-week Peace Not Walls trip to Israel, Palestine and Egypt. With the help of a slow Internet connection and a (very expensive, but I’m sure they agree, totally worth it) cell phone call this afternoon (10 pm their time) I got to catch up with them a little bit and get some of the first reports on their journey.

They were lucky their plane took off at all, what with all the terrible storms across the Midwest this weekend. They weren’t so lucky in that their departure resembled something out of the congressional hearing testimony for the Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights. After four hours on the tarmac with no fresh air and temperatures over 100 degrees, the plane ran out of fuel and they went back to the gate, deplaned, and soon re-planed Thankfully, there wasn’t too much delay before they took off the second time. A few hours later, my mom started feeling unbearably hot and dizzy. She got up to move to the galley, where it was cooler and less stuffy ... and fainted, falling on her chin.

It could have been much, much worse. She could have lost teeth, or her tongue, or gotten a concussion. As it is, she has some bruises on her knees and a bad bruise on her chin, which she thinks looks like a beard. A badge of perseverance in the face of adversity, I say! She’s feeling much better but it is a worrisome way to start such a trip, what with the five mile walk in 100 degree heat planned tomorrow, for example. My folks are tough cookies and good travelers—they’ll do everything they can to stay safe and healthy while still getting the full experience.

Mom said it was “worth the price of admission” just to witness this baptism in the Jordan River—I think she mostly loved it because it is a picture of women, of women passing on the faith in a holy place, of “one generation to another.” Another wonderful thing to witness: baby camels! My dad took the picture at the top of this post.

Things to be thankful for: baby camels, God’s amazing grace and the gift of baptism (and living baptism every day,) healing and the resilience of creatures and all creation, good humor in the midst of travels near and far. Mom is thankful that, so far, nothing has been as hot as the airplane. She told me another story from the plane that made me so grateful I got a little misty: when she fainted, it was in the aisle in the midst of a group from St. Ignatius College Prep. The kids were very sweet and concerned, and one girl leaned over and said, “I’m praying for you!”

Prayers for the journey continue to be welcome! I will post what I hear from my folks. Email me if you are interested in the group’s photo blog and message board and I’ll send you the link and password.

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