Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tomorrow's Trip

Tomorrow morning I am leaving for a Women's Conference. I am so excited about the experience, but for the first time, I am stressed about the flight up there.

I have never had a fear of flying. I am, admittedly, a bit afraid of heights, and would never voluntarily take a plane up into the sky with the intention of jumping out of it. But as far as flying from one place to another, I have no qualms.

I have never been stopped in the airport, I have a clean record. I've never had issues checking in. I have always looked forward to taking an airplane somewhere. The excitement and romance (yes, romance) of walking down the jetway and boarding the plane is something I have always enjoyed.

Even traveling alone is an adventure for me. I like to be surrounded by friends, but I've also enjoyed people watching. I like to make up stories for the strangers I see. I especially like watching children. Not in a creepy, stalker way, of course. I like seeing the excitement in their eyes. I like their curiosity.

Since I have no problem meeting new people, I always enjoy discovering the person I'm seated next to. I usually bring a book, thinking I need something to do, but end up ignoring it in favor of conversation.

I'm very easily entertained. I enjoy looking at everything around me, and I've even been known to read the in-flight instructions... ok, maybe I'm sharing a bit too much.

This trip is different. This is the first time I have flown since the TSA has become the KGB of our country. The porn scans, and the alternative groping have me in a cloud of worry. The thought that I may be selected randomly to be assaulted so that some terrorist supposedly won't be offended has me seething.

Perhaps it's my penchant for historical novels that has me in a tizzy. I have read books about World War 2 and I can't help noticing the similarities between the romanticized accounts I've read and our current times.

I've read about people trying to leave Germany after Hitler came to power. About being strip searched and having baggage dumped and searched. I'd like to think that it's logical to believe those kinds of things didn't happen overnight. People didn't just get up one morning and suddenly they couldn't travel without being assaulted. I believe it was a gradual shifting of authority under the guise of protection. Suddenly the people who were supposed to be protected from monsters became the ones assaulted and imprisoned.

A long time ago, it became illegal to travel via air with a weapon. I understand the concept of banning firearms from airplanes. A stray bullet fired in self defense could pierce a fuel tank and the whole plane could go down. (Of course, I laugh at the odds of this actually occurring.) But the idea that an innocent passenger cannot bring a knife on a plane with which to take down a would be sky-jacker, is ludicrous and only serves to embolden those with nefarious intent.

When the regulations began to change more rapidly, we had to take off our shoes or put toiletries in a separate bag, I didn't really think anything of it. I didn't fly often enough to find it inconvenient. I didn't like the fact that my loved ones could no longer walk me to my gate, or meet me as I came off the plane. The movies had to change a bit then.

It's a bit frustrating to know that if I have a two or three hour stopover in a city where a loved one lives, that it would be nearly impossible to use that time chatting with them over coffee at an airport cafe. It's just not worth the hassle of having to go back through security in time.

Now things have shifted even further. Now we are on complete lock down. Either I give up my constitutional rights and allow the TSA to have their way with me, or I have to give up the convenience of air travel.

As a busy mom with four children, I would not be able to go on this trip at all without the convenience of air travel. It would just be impossible to drive 14 hours there and back. I even thought about taking a train, but that would take even longer with all the stops and finding stations close enough to my destination. So I'm stuck.

I'm very frustrated, but I'm excited to see what God will do for me this weekend. I'm praying for God to make me invisible. I kind of wish that He would just translate me there, as He did with Philip. I'm sure all those innocent folks fleeing Germany wished for translation as well. It goes against my grain to willingly submit to this, but I know I must. Of course, I did read up on all my rights (believe it or not, I actually do have them). I'm stressed out, but ready to go.

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