Friday, February 24, 2012

Sterling Mei: (12) Thoughts Over the Arctic

Surreal. We find ourselves 32,000 feet over eastern Siberia between the Patom & Aldan Plateaus. Earlier we flew over the North Pole! Ironically we are passing over Russia where nearly 8 years ago a similar journey landed us on the western end of the country. It all seems familiar to me now. Where perhaps I should feel anxiety, what fills that space is a simple acknowledgment that I am where I supposed to be… and the calm that accompanies that realization.

We slice through the air at 550 m.p.h. as the -70f air visibly splits over the wing in aerosol bursts. We are 9.5 hours into the nearly 14 hour flight. Our day began at 2:00 AM and we are now in our 19th hour. When we land it will be 3:30 PM local time and by the time our heads dent pillows we will have been awake for over 30 hours and covered over 7 thousand miles. Not a bad day.

I absolutely love to fly, the longer the flight the better. We have found a slight rhythm: snack, nap, movie, bathroom… repeat. For whatever reason I am unclear about, once we crossed into Russian airspace, we were forbidden to look out the windows and the shades have been drawn tight. Of course… I am peeking. Incredible snow and ice covered plains with large chasms that seem to run from horizon to horizon stretch as far as I can see. We also passed over a vast snow covered mountain range. The window that afforded my stolen glances has become crisscrossed with spiderweb like ice. I can feel the deathly cold creeping through the wall of the portal and finding my skin.

A simple backpack, the same that has gone on multiple trips through the mountains of Guatemala sits at my feet. Its casual and worn textile is the transport for documents that required over 5 years of our lives to acquire. Some of them are unreplaceable, all of them precious. It also holds two envelopes of currency, and various electronic devices. This backpack is our lifeline. It never leaves my possession.

And yet… this backpack is not our security. It is not what we cling tightest too. It is not what we consider our safety. If it were to be lost with all of its contents, we would still retain the essential components of life.
There is no power in all of the world that can separate us from the love of God. Not governments, not risk, no danger,… nothing. Our God is greater, our God is stronger. And so, we brush aside the human elements and we breath deeply as we pursue this life.

A baby awaits us. She is our daughter. We are going to bring her home.

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