I love the smell of jet fuel. I always have, and airports flip a switch in me. A sense of God’s urgency and purpose makes me think of a verse in the bible. Mark 16:15, “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” In my life, this verse is synonymous with flying around the world!
When I was three years old, my family flew from Okinawa to Los Angeles on a Pan American propeller plane called the Stratocruiser. It was my first flight. Although I don’t remember that long trip, I’m sure my mother and father never forgot it. It was a 32-hour flight with stopovers. Can you imagine flying with three daughters ages one, three, and five in tow? I don’t think it was as pleasant as this advertisement shows.
Iconic Long Beach Airport
In Revived Hope, when Melanie and her daughter Lacey leave Southern California and fly to Mississippi, I set them in my favorite local airport in Long Beach. I’m smiling just thinking about it. The drive is shorter than to LAX and has less traffic, but it’s the charm and nostalgia that beckons me, so I had to use that iconic landmark. Here’s a little 2 minute promo video of Long Beach Airport.
I took liberties and described sweeping murals in the building, which I envisioned from old Hollywood black and white classics that Melanie and Lacey love. I also mention a fictional on-site bakery. The chocolate chip cookies hint back to another scene, and the delicious aroma doesn’t quite go with the jet fuel, but it sets the mood.
What do I love about Long Beach Airport? For one, it’s so cute! The building, the check-in, the security, and especially the walk out on the tarmac to board. Although they’ve modernized it somewhat, I depicted it as I remember. Still, the charm is there.
A few of my closest friends fear flying, but for me, the excitement overrules the “What if’s.” What if the plane crashes? What if I get sick? What if a terrorist is on board? Now that’s a scary memory I experienced while boarding a flight in Miami once, but I’ll save it for another post. To be honest, it’s not the actual flying I love. In fact, after an eleven-hour flight to Japan for my son’s engagement, I said I’d never do it again, but with two sons and their families living there, I’ve repeated the trip four times so far.
So, what is it about flying? It’s unpredictable and people are mysterious. When I think about who I’ll be sitting next to, I wonder how God will prompt me to share. Usually, I bury myself in a book after takeoff, but those moments before, when everyone is boarding and getting settled, provide time to figure out other passengers. I’m not very outgoing, but if a passenger approaches me first, I feel I have an open door. In the meantime, I smile and nod, waiting for them to make the first move toward conversation.
But even before that, my favorite part of flying or just being at the airport is the goodbye. My husband and I gather our kids together (they’ve flown on sixteen mission trips) or whoever is leaving, and we pray. Our huddled circle becomes the dome that God uses to comfort whatever apprehensions rise in each one of us. Talk about a time to surrender! The pilot on the plane does a good job of calming the crowd before take-off, but he’s nothing compared to the soothing presence of the Almighty, especially when we rise above the clouds and look down at the sea of white.
Do you have a tiny little airport near you? We have quite a few in Southern California, but Long Beach is by far my favorite. That’s why I included it in Revived Hope. I’d love to hear about yours.
Travel through God’s Heart
Thanks for joining me and please do share your trips with me. Travel is one of my favorite things. God created such a vast world with sights galore. Road trips supply the same, but there is something about getting out of the United States and experiencing people in their native culture and lands that opens our eyes in ways that can’t happen here. Though some commonality of people is found everywhere, the distinct differences pull us out of our comfort zones and tug at our hearts in ways I think God wants us to experience.
And if something restricts you from traveling abroad, invite a missionary over, you’ll experience what they have, and you’ll be stirred with longing to share God’s Word with those around you. After all, it is our purpose!
I wish I could offer a plane ticket, but here’s a gift certain to give you the travel bug. I’m giving away a fair-trade cross-body bag handcrafted in the Himalayas. You’ll also receive an ebook of Revived Hope. Click on the link below to enter. http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f888f7c011/?
God bless your day and see you tomorrow as we take a delicious detour for On Location.