In just 50 days, if it’s God’s will, I will be joining a team of peacemakers on a flight to Amsterdam to connect with a flight to our final destination — Kigali, Rwanda. I say, “God’s will,” because first, everything is subject to God’s will and, second, there seem to be an exorbitant number of variables that could change everything.
For a West Texas boy, these variables were once things I classified as “world events.” By that, I generally took them to be things that didn’t affect me directly. Over time, I’ve come to see that I’m affected by each and every thing that happens. As a result, I feel pain more often. I cry when I hear stories about children and puppies. My breath catches in my throat when I hear others sing with enthusiasm. I mourn at senseless death. I celebrate the deaths of those who lived well and left a legacy. I congratulate those who achieve. I encourage those who who try. I laugh at myself. I party with those who have experienced good things. Who knows, I might even dance some day.
But for now, I’m seeing variables that could complicate our trip and our mission. Airliners that disappear mysteriously or that are shot down unmercifully. Outbreaks of Ebola virus and the real danger of contagion. Acts of terrorism that take the lives of innocent people. Missiles flying. Governments so focused inwardly that they have lost sight of humanity and a world conscience. Total disregard for the role of a higher power in all of this.
As you feel things growing dark, let me remind you that there is light all around. True, these variables could disrupt my plans for travel. Yet, in the midst of all these difficult things, there is hope.
There is hope in the potential of this trip, for example. Hope for those we will touch with our trainings in conflict resolution and servant leadership. Hope for the refugees we will visit. Hope for those otherwise-strangers we will encounter along the way. Hope that the lives of each and every team member will be propelled into a higher orbit of consciousness, sensitivity, and purpose.
But there is also abundant hope in the event this trip is canceled. I’ve come to know six other people who have come from diverse backgrounds to form a team. We’ve learned from each other. We’ve laughed together. We’ve experienced challenges. And in the next 50 days there will be much more.
There is hope in the very challenge of doing something different. Stepping boldly across the lines that define our comfort zone combines terror and possibilities in a single emotion that will forever change us.
I’ll be sharing more about this intended journey. I invite you to join us through your thoughts and your prayers. We’ll be mindful of you and the variables you face, too.