By Wednesday, September 24th, 2003, Mum and I were airborne and headed back from British Columbia to Ontario.
Our five days with our friends had flown by. And I could hardly believe that it was just nine days since I had picked up Mum from her journey from England at Lester B. Pearson Airport in Toronto.We were flying back with many happy memories of being immersed in the large crowd of family and friends of the de Jong family. After the wedding there was time to visit, laugh and enjoy one another's company to the full. It had all been perfectly wonderful.
Before leaving the little cabin where we had been the guests of Ank and Cors de Lint, Ank asked me to write in the guest book that she kept there. It held a record of the many people who had been guests there. Each one had written a personal message about their stay; some short, some long. Writing something in her book was all Ank asked of anyone staying there.
I wrote about Mum's fall when we arrived; the story of the man having the stroke in the hospital parking lot, and my sense that we were meant to be there to pray for him.
When Ank read the story, her eyes filled with tears. She told me that it touched her deeply and held a message of God's grace and care for her personally as well as for the man having the stroke. And all who would read that page afterwards would see a testimony of God's faithfulness; that he is with us when we go through difficult times.
At the airport I noticed a tall blond woman whose distinct hairstyle reminded me uncannily of someone I knew. When she turned around I could hardly believe it. It was my friend, a woman I had met at a writers conference a couple of years before, where she had gone to learn how to get her book about her dramatic wartime experiences as a small child in the Ukraine, published. Afterwards she had attended our writers group until recent months when she had other things to deal with and was planning a move. We hadn't heard from her recently and now, here she was, waiting for the same plane that we were waiting for.
I called her name and she was as surprised as I was to be meeting her at Vancouver Airport. From the moment I introduced her to Mum, she doted on her. I felt like a positively negligent daughter as she took over looking after her. She lavished her with loving attention for the whole trip back to Ontario.
It turned out that she had sold her home in Ontario and bought a house in Victoria on Vancouver Island, where she had just started attending a church opposite her new home. This last fact made me smile with quiet joy as she had, from the time I met her, been a spiritual person but not a Christian. She had felt at home with our group of Christian writers because we were spiritual too, and we never made her feel anything but warmly welcome. But her beliefs were New Age. Now, as she went back to finish final arrangements for her move, God had allowed our paths to cross and for me to know that she was finding her way to him.
As if God wanted to bring the point home fully, the movie on the plane journey back was the Jim Carrey comedy, Bruce Almighty, a story about a man who is temporarily given God's power to show him how difficult it is to run the world.
I was amazed yet again at the mystery of God's ways as I and my jet set Mum crossed the skies.