I was Edgar Allen Poe's, "The Tell-Tale Heart" Surely every body in the plane, including the pilot, could hear my heart beating.

Lover's Embrace
The window seat.
I tumbled clumsily in
after blocking traffic and boinking the person
standing behind me repeatedly in the chest with my backpack
full of Lil' Debbie crackers and crayons and
Vacation Bible School cut-outs.
Sorry I mouthed to the passenger behind me
Wheeeeeeew!!!, I expelled, for some unknown reason
I had been holding my breath.
I fell into my window seat clutching my Bible.
Something began flittering across my Holy Book.
It landed on my left sleeve.
A tiny ray of sunshine
danced through my window as if it
had bounced off of a heavenly prism.
Did anyone else have one?
I inventoried the surrounding travelers.
Nope only me.

“Do you love me, Yolantha?”
Who said that?
Especially who here knew me
and could call me by name,
over 1100 miles from home?
I slumped in my seat, kept my head still
Eyeballed left and eyeballed right
I noticed I wasn't breathing again and
My mouth was just doing its own thing.
It choked out “yes…but…”
“then feed my lambs.”
My eyes crinkled shut.
“Yolantha, do you love me?”
Pained, I could just barely nod my head.
“feed my sheep”
I didn't dare breathe
I knew my Bible just enough to remember that there
Was a third time coming
He whispered my name
Yes!!!” I answered loudly before God could ask me again.
“What?” asked the co-passenger crumpled tightly next to me on the airplane.
“Ssssssorry.” I stuttered.

My cocked to another sound. Who giggled? It was the sound of miniature wind chimes. People were still standing in the aisle waiting to claim their seats. Others who had found their placements were embraced by headphones or were deeply buried in novels and newspapers. The man way across at the other window seat had his mouth open like a train tunnel and a spit drop was clinging to his chin. He was asleep and the plane had not even left the runway. There it was again, somebody was giggling at me. Was it an Angel? Oh God, please don't tell me that now I'm hearing angels.

What have I gotten myself into? Frantic I looked up the word Angel in my concordance. My hands were shaking. A--A--S--no that's too far. A--M--now flip a few pages to the right. Panic pinched my nose constricting the air like when I was a child in Sunday School competing in a Bible drill. A sweat drop scurried a path down my left armpit. I began to panic the same way I did years upon years ago in church. Andrew: one of the 12 disciples, Andronicus: a relative of Paul--Paul? Paul the road to Damascus…Paul who used to be Saul…where was my inhale air? Where was the stewardess? Was this what folks call a panic attack? Was I gonna die all alone on this airplane before I even set foot in Haiti?


Was that Angel or God?
“My Son, Jesus, will walk with you and He will embrace you arm in arm with a lover's embrace. So go, walk confidently, speak boldly making disciples in all the nations baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this, my daughter,--that I am with you always even to the end of the world.”

The voice had emphasized, “and be sure of this”. I quickly thumbed through my Bible and by George there it was in red ink. There was the phrase. Exactly as Jesus had spoken it. “And be sure of this that I am with you always even to the end of the world.” The same promise, “I will never leave or forsake you!”

The Bible flipped itself to the front without my help. Angel!!!

“There it is, I exclaimed. I must have spoken out loud. My seat partner looked annoyingly at me over her glasses. Oh no, I think I'm gonna cry. Not me, not 4 brothers and the only girl me.

My nose burned with the stale smell of breathing in other folk's air. Sitting on the airplane for the first time as a…a…a mih-mih-mih--Missionary.

(for a whole year I couldn't even say it out loud. Missionary. The word was too sacred for the multitude of sins that I had committed in the first 45 years of my life).

I wanted to scramble off of the plane. The aisle was packed with last minute people boarding. People who moved with assuredness, determination, and acted like this was normal. Regular. No escape!!! My seat partner was evidently more comfortable now. She was taking up more than her share of our seat. Squished up against the window, my flesh side was hyperventilating and screaming, “Let me off, let me off! Please let me off I can't breathe!!!”. I looked at the people around me to be sure I had not shouted out loud. I frantically stuffed 4 sticks of Wrigley chewing gum into my mouth and searched for the upchuck bag. The airplane was vibrating and rolling, the front of the plane tilted and lurched like the start of a carnival ride.


The wheels went up into the belly of the plane


“I'm here,” the voice said, “I'm here.”

The Awkward Moment
I heard someone breathing.
I sure hoped it was me.
Too late to turn back now
I'm in the air
Over the awesome Atlantic
totally in God's hands
My thoughts as I knew them ceased
My walk as I knew it ceased
I am too ignorant to have an agenda
My guarantees
My birthrights as an American ceased
I must do God's will on their turf.
“Toto, you're not in Kansas anymore.”
Oh no. God quoting the Wizard of Oz?
This time I knew it was me giggling.
Quickly I looked down at my Wal-Mart combat boots.
I heard someone breathing.
It was me.

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