I did it again! A year ago we were gifted to take a trip to Thailand (for those that made it possible, you know who you are and we cannot thank you enough). This was my third trip to Thailand. Let me give you a brief history of my trips to Thailand.
The first trip was fourteen years ago. My daughter’s best friend, Erika, was getting married on the island of Ko Pha-ngan and asked me to officiate the wedding. You can read about our first trip here.
If you read the above account you will see our flight left on March 2nd at 2:40 am and I read it as leaving March 2nd (not thinking morning time at all!) and we missed our flight. But God is good and we ended up getting there in plenty of time for the wedding. We spent two glorious weeks on that island with a group of 20’ somethings and had a blast!
Three years ago I returned for Cody and Erika’s 10th anniversary. I was sick for weeks before the trip and had been diagnosed with chronic bronchitis. Little did I know I was actually in congestive heart failure and it was miraculous I survived the trip. You can read all about that and the subsequent story here.
This time our trip was departing at 1:20 am on Friday, March 29th. I knew that at some point we had to go to the airport on Thursday evening. I was even getting text messages from the group as a countdown. I really don’t know what happens to my brain but I thought we were leaving on Friday and didn’t realize until 6:00 pm on Thursday we had to be at the airport by 10:00 pm THURSDAY! It was only because I was loading an app on Rich’s phone for the airlines that I learned we had to get to the airport that evening. I panicked, even shed a few tears, had to cancel our guests coming for dinner and got ready to go to the airport. Again, God is good and we made it in plenty of time.
This trip was redemptive on so many levels.
We had 21 days in some of the most beautiful settings I have ever been to in my life. We went to Koh Pha-ngan, Koh Phi Phi Railay Beach, Krabi and had a 24 hour layover in Bangkok on our way home. After my last trip, 3 years ago, it didn’t look like I would ever be able to make a trip overseas, let alone this type of trip ever again. With my health recovering beyond what the doctors ever thought possible, I found myself using muscles I had not used in over 3 years!
Walking long distances on beaches, up and down steep hills in hot and humid weather, climbing (with help) in and out of longtail boats, pushing myself just beyond what I thought I should have, worked out and I came home feeling strong and healthy, albeit totally jet lagged.
There were 14 adults and 5 kids on the trip. I can't describe the fun, the tiredness, the beauty and the absolute crazy adventure we had adequately. What I do know is that being unplugged for 21 days from all that is going on was so, so good for my soul. I know what a privilege it is for us to go on a trip like this and I don't take it lightly.
I am grateful for the chance to get away with family and close friends. To be immersed in beauty – the islands of southwest and southeast Thailand have some of the most beautiful rock formations, jungles, tropical fish and people that I have ever seen and touched. I found myself in such beautiful terrain that I was reminded of God’s creation, how our first mandate was to care for it.
I was hopeful as I gazed on this beauty, yet uncontaminated by human consumption, that the New Creation we celebrated this past Easter Sunday would burst forth! It’s not here in its fullness, but the blessed hope we hold as followers of Jesus is that one day, one day it will all be renewed and this glimpse of beauty I witnessed will be the way for all.
Until that day, my prayer is that each of us will join God in the renewal of all things in the smallest of ways and if called upon in colossal ways!
As we continue this season of Eastertide may you be awake to the ways the God of the cosmos might be asking you to participate in practicing resurrection.