Every seat on our small plane is taken. The inhabitants (hostages seems a bit harsh, but give me another hour) of the tiny rows of seats sit squished together, a few tall men with their knees nearly eye level; the noise of the engine whines ceaselessly through the recycled air.
Twenty minutes ago, the captain cheerfully announced that takeoff would be delayed by 50 minutes or perhaps an hour. Four minutes ago, he less cheerfully announced that it could be a little longer than an hour.
Rule of thumb? You may fly into O’Hare on time, but never try to predict when you might leave.
The noise level and temperature inside the plane is rising. And even though we are motionless, the conscientious flight attendant just came over and told me to fasten my seat belt and please return my seat to the upright position. Is she afraid that the plane will go from a standstill to a sudden and speedy taxi down the runway? No warning at all — a sort of spontaneous combustion of movement, tray tables down and baggage unstored in overhead compartments? I smile at her and am immediately compliant, clicking and straightening without hesitation. I am from Iowa after all.
Images of the JetBlue passengers trapped for 8 hours come to mind.
Back when the plane was going to leave Chicago O’Hare on time, I planned to be in my hotel room at the Justice and Witness Board of Directors meeting in Washington, DC in time for a shower, possibly a quick nap, and then maybe even a grande coffee before the first plenary session was called to order. Now I will dash from airport shuttle to conference room dragging my luggage behind me. No shower. No nap. No Starbucks. Where is the justice?
Oh right. Justice is why we are coming together for this meeting in the first place. Justice and Witness is one of the four covenanted ministries of the UCC. To learn more, go to JWM. The staff members of JWM confront everything from urgent environmental issues to human trafficking to immigration. I am privileged to serve on the board and to offer at least a little support to the members of that hard working staff.
Even if it means sitting on the tarmac.