“The days may come and go,
But still the hands of memory weave
The blissful dreams of long ago.”
It was a conversation about lavender that prompted me to climb up into the dusty attic and dig through my boxes of journals. Somewhere in one of those notebooks was an entry about wild lavender in mountain pastures.
I found the book I was looking for and slowly opened the pages, long-forgotten memories filling the air like musty-sweet perfume . . .
Thursday, July 8, 1999
The newspaper had arrived. With hands trembling and heart pounding, I unfolded it, not certain what I would find. In bold letters, the headlines trumpeted the good news.
Air Canada keeps on flying
A miracle. I exhaled slowly and read a little further.
The airline’s 51-hundred flight attendants were poised to walk out at midnight, Eastern Time.
But marathon talks in an Ottawa hotel achieved a tentative settlement just minutes after the walkout was to begin.
It had been a close call. Too close. But God had answered my prayers.
This still doesn’t feel like it’s happening, I wrote in my journal. But when I pinch myself, it hurts…
In just one more day, I would be leaving, chasing my dreams into the heart of Slovakia’s tiny gypsy villages.
July 10, 1999
4:40 a.m. BST
En route to London, England
It was my first time traveling and I was alone. I stared out of the airplane window in awe at a sky that was a layer of red that melted into a layer of orange that melted into a layer of blue. It was a soul-aching beauty.
As the colours receded into morning, I pulled out my Slovak phrase sheet and began preparing myself for the challenges ahead.
Good day Dobry deň
My name is… Muje meno je…
Jesus has changed my life. Ježíš zamenil moj život.
By the time the plane descended into Heathrow Airport for a brief stopover, motion sickness had set in with a vengeance. So had loneliness.
What had prompted me to board a plane and travel halfway around the world to spend my summer working with gypsies in Slovakia?
A gentle Voice whispered comfort to the deep places of my heart. I brought you here. And I will never leave you nor forsake you.
I was right in the centre of God’s will.
Jesus is with me. Ježíš je so mnou.
(To be continued…)
Click here to read Part 2 – “Once Upon a Summer: The Long Journey”