I sat in the plane on that tarmac. I opened the window and gazed out at my view. It was one with which I was familiar. I could see tin roof houses in the distance. Mountains nearby. Brown everywhere. The airport was being renovated and signs of construction were still dotting the building. I prayed the plane wouldn’t start. I prayed the pilot wouldn’t be able to fly. The engine slowly roared to life as tears stung my eyes once again. We began to chug forward, full weight of a hundred people dragging our planes belly to the ground. The engine struggled, my heart did too. The plane took off, my heart sunk.
Over the next twelve hours, I had two layovers and landed in three different states…and one different country. I was in a fog, when I wasn’t crying. I was numb, when I wasn’t feeling the weight of my decision suffocating my tiny lungs. My plane touched down. The flight attendant announced we had arrived in Omaha. “If Omaha is your final destination, welcome home,” she chirped.
Papa, papa, please please don’t let this be permanent. I told you I would come. I said I would follow you. Please don’t let this be home for long. Please Daddy, I can’t handle this.
My girl, home is with me. Home cannot be taken away from you. You are not displaced. You are moving your feet as I lead. Follow me and you will always be home. You are not supposed to handle this baby girl, you are supposed to follow life and give me the jumbled pieces. I am the master weaver.
My family was running around the airport trying to find me. I was sitting by the baggage claim with no bags to claim. They ran upstairs and downstairs and outside. I was sitting right there all along. Neither of us noticing the other. Finally, I walked around a corner, and there they were signs held high, “welcome home april!!” Glitter signs decorated and smiling faces. It was past midnight and they had met me there.
Papa, meet me in my brokenness. When I cannot move, run around finding me. Meet me papa, for I cannot move past this moment. This breath.
Sweet daughter of mine, you have enough grace for this moment. Wrapped in my arms, I do not need to run frantically trying to find you, I see you sitting there. I witness your pain. I see the loss my asking has caused. I am with you. Just this breath.
It has been two days. I have tried to get up and move and participate in the world. But vertigo keeps me at bay. My best friend said, “It makes sense that your head is spinning…. your world is spinning too and your body is trying to cope with it.” So with tempered enthusiasm I venture from the house. I bought socks but forgot to buy a toothbrush. I visit my nephews, but can’t stay long. I try to cope with losing my school, my students, my tribe. I’ve sat down to write too many times only to come up empty. Words fail.
Write with your heart not your thoughts.
My family is outing on a “Welcome home” party for me this Sunday. My mom has asked me to share my heart with the people. I have a feeling I will just stand up there and cry. But maybe the tears are good. Maybe the tears say, ” I have invested this much. I have witnessed this much. I have lived with you this much.” I’ve been told time and time again that tears are strength. So maybe I will stand up there and just be strong in the only way my heart knows how to right now.