On the morning of the day before I left for Spain, Wednesday, February 9th to be exact, this is what I wrote in my journal:
"This must be what peace feels like. Rest. Trust. Faith. Releasing the reins of this trip and my life. Move ahead in faith. With joy. All is well. All shall be well. All has always been well. Nothing to do but trust, obey, walk.
Not a great weather forecast for Valladolid or Madrid. I hope and pray that things change but I'll have my umbrella and lots of zip loc bags, just in case. I'm looking forward to seeing how I do with the vest: keep it on. keep it zipped. keep my jacket on over it. And stay deep in prayer. Close to the Lord. Open eyed. Full heart. Low expectations. High hopes in the Lord.
I've never felt this settled, this calm, this close to a trip.
Peace. Glorious peace.
Trust. Heartfelt trust.
Hope. Gentle joy.
Loved. Remembered. It's all good."
On the morning of February 10th, Steve and the kids drove me to the airport here in Charlotte where we said our "farewells," took a couple of photos, and I was on my way. On yet another journey. Back to Spain. My itinerary that day included several flights - Charlotte-Miami-Madrid-Barcelona with two or three hour layovers at each stop. Security checks. Passport control. Pulling out my zip-loc bag of liquids and my laptop, taking off my boots, my jacket, and my ever-present vest, putting it all back on and away. Questions in English and Spanish. Forms to fill in. Correct change to pull out. At various points along the way, I would do what I refer to as a shoulder check: I sit still, close my eyes, take a deep breath, and let my shoulders drop. In tense moments, I have found my shoulders high and tight. Not so on that day: my shoulders were low and loose all day, all night, and on into the next day. The same word kept coming back: peace.
On the morning of February 21st, just after midnight, my mother picked me up at the airport here in Charlotte and brought me home - where I was met only by the excited barking of my funny little dog, Maya. Steve and the children were in Charleston, South Carolina at a tennis tournament (where Daniel finished 3rd in his age group, losing only one match all weekend!). I awoke early yesterday morning, still on Spain time, still surrounded and filled with peace. I had the whole day to unpack, think, pray, reenter my home and my life at a quiet, slow, solitary pace.
The one thought that returned to mind over and over again all day long was the same one that occurred to me 13 days earlier: "this must be what peace feels like."