Off Protocol

by - November 09, 2012

I’m sitting in the DFW terminal waiting to board the plane for the first leg of this journey. I arrived three hours early! The miracles have begun. I started this morning, with quiet time with the Lord, whom I love, whom I need to hear from today as we go out on this adventure. Then I got ready and had pizza for breakfast. Pizza for breakfast always feels a little bit adventurous to me because it’s not supposed to be a breakfast food, but when you take life by the horns you guys, sometimes you have pizza for breakfast. Pizza for breakfast is off protocol. Grabbing Life is opposite of living in fear. For perspective sake, I kind of wish more of you had an opportunity to see my panic attacks leading up to, or during a flight, as the sweet people on a flight with me from New York to Chicago had opportunity to witness several years ago. I definitely got some stink eye looks from passengers when we hit a little turbulence, my body went into panic, I couldn’t stop crying and my friend Dana held my hand and told me that if I were flying the plane I would be been fine. :) She knew me well.   

The beginning of wisdom is…fear... A right understanding of who God is, and who I am not. We obviously would not have been ok if I had been the flying the plane, but beginning to understand that was throwing me into a spin. A gracious spin that would lift the fog I had been living in, and show me all the planes I had been trying to fly in my own power for way too long. It’s been over 5 years ago since I’ve had a panic attack. God allowed me a trial of feeling out of control to be freed of having to be in control. Not for the sake of inflicting pain, but for the sake of redemption. Not for the sake of salvation, which is on Jesus, but for working out my salvation through him into the abundant life of freedom He has planned for me. The panic attacks weren’t punishment, they were grace. Messy grace. See how that works? At first I was mad he was letting that happen to me! But I came to understand he didn’t want to just fix the symptom, he wanted to fix the problem. He sheds light on our darkness, then heals us and make us new. Then gives us wings. Then pushes us gently off cliffs so we can stretch them. Never would I be sitting here, joyfully looking forward to flying to India without anyone I know, if it weren’t for God. I love every minute of it. Even the hard ones. Do you struggle to fly planes? Quit it. Talk to Jesus.

There is an elderly woman who appears to be traveling solo sitting next to me now. My friends know I love old people. The crankier the better, but she seemed sweet. She smiled at me when she sat down as if to say “Hello, is it ok if I sit here.” I smiled back at her to say, “Hello, you are welcome to sit here. “ She is writing out a list on notebook paper. Here is what I can read on her list (if you are sitting close enough to me that I can see your list, I am probably going to read it): “pants – 5 t-shirts – 4 sleep wear – 2.” I have a list a lot like that in my suitcase. I planned my daily outfits 2 weeks ago so I wouldn’t over, or under pack. She and I have a lot in common. She has a scarf stuffed down in her bag. Me, too. She remembered to bring her umbrella. I didn’t. Every once and a while she looks up and looks around at all the other people that she and I neither one know. I wonder if she is feeling adventurous or alone. She doesn’t know it, but in my mind she is my “find-a-partner-to-hold-hands-while-you-are-crossing-the-street” travel buddy. If for some reason we find ourselves sliding down one of those inflatable airplane slides due to unforeseen circumstances, I’ma be holdin’ her hand. I hope she had pizza for breakfast.

To make a 21 hour story short, I landed in Hyderabad at 8:00 their time yesterday. I have no idea when that was in relation to CST. But they had flowers for me, and brought me to the Hotel where they helped me get all checked in and saw me to my room. My room is great. I even have a bathtub, which apparently is very rare. It’s humid, but not too hot here. The festival of lights is this week, and the whole town is a buzz. (I’ve never said those words before, much less written them because they are kind of cheesy, but now I have to leave it because it is funny how its sounds like I was trying a little too hard to be a writer. After this sentence I vow to never use the line “the whole town is a buzz” again.)  

Today ( Friday) I have forgotten any trace of Central Time Zone. I totally feel acclimated. I slept 8 hours last night, and woke up feeling great this morning. I had breakfast here at the hotel (Potatoes, peas and toast). Then spent a couple of hours with the David’s discussing tomorrow’s training, and really just reflecting and thanking God for the work He is doing, and how he has led us to this day. Off protocol. Then I spent a couple more hours working on the agenda for tomorrow and watched an Indian wedding procession out my window and flocks of bright green parrot looking birds fly in on my window sill. Then I took a little 30 minute nap, ordered room service…spaghetti and marinara (reverse off protocol), and then went out to do a little shopping with Hepzi. I may or may not have a new outfit from the store below. It may or may not be teal and purple…colors I don’t think I’ve ever worn in my whole life. It is fabulous. A gift from my friends here, that I will be honored to wear on Sunday when I attend church with them. The answer is yes.

Like everywhere else, this is a place of contradictions...

No rules.  No helmets.  No seatbelts.  No number of passengers on any one motorcycle off limits. (I saw a family of 4 on one motorcycle.  Just grab a gear, honk and go.

The view out my window.

Part of the wedding prosseional, or recessional.  I'm not sure which direction they are headed. 

The view inside the store, a block or so from the view outside my window.

Thank you again for all of your prayers for this trip.  It is such a blessing to share it with you!  I would definitely welcome your prayers for the training tomorrow.  I'm so excited and nauseous and thankful that He who has called me here is faithful, and He will do a Lady Bird reminded me yesterday, or the day before....or whatever day that was.

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  1. Ooh so sweet, as always makes me feel like I'm in your're always in my heart and in my prayers. Love you!AJ

  2. Yeah! You were able to post! Praying so very hard for you my friend! Miss your smile around here but am so crazy excited for you as God continues to use you for HIS purposes! Love you, stay safe. Kari

  3. Haley, I love, love your posts! Also, I love the phrase "whole town is a buzz"! Reading your blog is like reading the Yada Yada Prayer Group books--tears and laughter--and the best thing is that I've watched you grow up--physically and spiritually. I'm sure you were a blessing to the lady you sat by. Keep the blog and pictures coming--you let us in your little corner of the world--and it blesses us! Love, Jeanne (someday I'll figure out how to logon this this and won't have to sign as anonoymous!)