Friday, May 1, 2015

Day 1: The Flight to Lourdes

Day 1: Trip to Lourdes, LA start.
I am so tired...I need to sleep...And yet I can't seem to get even a wink. I took 3 melatonin...and Hank  took 2 but we can't get comfortable...we are going to be a mess when we land...and there will be no sleeping when we get to Lourdes.

It was hard to say goodbye to Jeff, Charlie and Lucy. As we stood at the security gate and I realized this was it. I cried. Not a big surprise...I have been crying since Hank was chosen for this trip!

While standing in line to check in, we saw some familiar faces. Two other families who live just 40 miles from us, were also going on this trip. Each family has a 10 year old boy, who happen to be best friends, and they were checking in as well. We had not met in person before...The Order of Malta gave us yearbooks of sorts and I had seen their photos and location, so I reached out to them through emails. So although we had not formerly met, or even talked beyond emails, we immediately recognized each other.

We soon said our goodbyes and Hank and I showed our boarding passes and headed up the escalator to security check in. It was a lengthy process and Hank's bag got flagged...he had granola did I, but he got stopped.(We did keep the food though)
And then it was off to our we rode the people mover, a man dressed in black approached. He was a priest and in the order of Malta, who would also be going on the trip. Fr. John Love introduced himself and said he was from Santa Barbara, just 90 from where we live. 3 other Knights of Malta also caught up with us, one, who upon hearing Hank's name said, "Oh I know Hank...I was on the selection team...I know your whole story and am so pleased you could join us."  *Thank you!* I said, 

As we approached the gate seating area, I said to Hank, *I think we should go eat...Fr. John jumped in with a "Yes, Yes...let's go eat" and led the way. While standing in line at a burger place, I looked around the food court. Black bags with the red cross were everywhere. Men dressed all in black 
with just the red cross over their chest, Catholic priests all in black with nametags carrying the red cross...I was amazed.

Fr. John bought our lunch and we had such a nice time...he has a way with teenagers! While sitting there, a woman waved to me. It was the other mom who has a 10 year old, and live near us. We both recognized each other from our photos. She and her little boy came over to say hello. We hugged each other like we've known each other forever. And I feel like we have!

We got in line amongst nuns in full habits, priests, Knights, Dames, Malades, companions, children, old, you name it.

And so Hank and I are still awake as the plane is dark and everyone sleeps. The cabin lights have been off for hours and I so want to sleep. But I know that the minute I finally nod off is the minute they will serve breakfast!
I think Hank is overwhelmed and excited...this is going to be the trip of a lifetime!

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