Three years ago, today didn’t exist for me. Seriously.
If you’ve ever flown west over the international date line, you’ve experienced this phenomenon. I boarded a plane in Los Angeles the evening of May 5th, and got off the plane in Auckland the morning of May 7th. It was a long flight, but not that long.
Sometimes, I wonder what happened to that day. I wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn’t missed that day. Kind of a “two roads diverged into a yellow wood” moment here; what if I went to sleep on May 5th instead of getting on that plane, and woke up on May 6th in my own bed. My life would certainly be different, but better?
I arrive in Auckland early in the morning, eager to stretch my legs after the long-haul flight over the Pacific. It all feels like a dream as I make my way through customs. There’s a little hang up over my visa, but it’s sorted out soon enough. I smile as I look at the fresh new stamp in my passport; I get to stay 12 months.
Lydia is waiting, patiently, for me as I enter the arrivals area. It doesn’t seem real, not just where I am, but also why I’m here. I’m not sure anyone in the entire airport was smiling as big as we were. We embrace; time stands still.
There were only two people in all of New Zealand that knew about the ring in my bag. Me, obviously, and the customs officer who asked me if I had any valuable items to declare. He wasn’t impressed. I, on the other hand, was eager to show just about anyone willing (or unwilling) to take a peak at what had to have been the smallest diamond engagement ring that Tiffany’s sold. Remind me to tell you the entire story about “the ring” someday 🙂
Seven months later, I experienced the other phenomenon that occurs when traveling over the international date line. I left Auckland on a Friday evening, and arrived in San Francisco Friday afternoon. There was a gently used diamond engagement ring in my bag; it didn’t seem real, not just where I was, but also why I was there.
I’ve replayed it over and over in my head, and have gone through all of the “what if” scenarios. I’m thankful for losing that day. What I have gained these past three years, what God has taught me and shown me, has out-weighed what I lost. Eventually, it will cost me everything—indeed, my very life—to stand in the presence of the King. I must hold on to the things of this world with a loose grip.