This morning at the Memphis Airport at 5 AM I greeted 15 nurses from Christian Brothers University, off to work at St Vincent’s School for a week. I could spot them from the other end of the airport with their heavily loaded bags. One by one, bags loaded onto the scales, with the airlines ticket agent who seemed unfriendly at first but turned out to be helpful in his own way. The weight limit is 50 lbs, and for an “overweight” bag it is 70 lbs. Several bags “squeaked in” at 52 lbs, passed through by the ticket agent. Lots of crayons, jump ropes, and bags of food moved back and forth from one suitcase to another, to avoid excess baggage fees for being over 50 lbs. Apparently there is no weight limit for your carryon bag, just a size limit. Hence much of the overflow ended up in carryon backpacks, stuffed beyond zipper capacity!
At 5 AM, even the airport Starbucks is not open yet. Even so, all the team members seemed wide awake and excited about their trip. 3 team members are returning for their second stint at St Vincent’s, including Dr Sue Trzynka, Clark and Kristen. I asked Clark to check on the trench that runs through the middle of the school courtyard, which drains water from the bathrooms. Basically it is an open sewer. Drew Woodruff gave Pere Sadoni some cash on his last trip, specifically to cover the trench. During our last trip, Clark fished more than one soccer ball out of this trench.
I wanted to stuff myself into one of their suitcases, but as I said, they were already over their weight limit!
As I drove home, still dark in Memphis, I thought about the blessing of 15 nurses going to St Vincent’s to do wellness assessments on all the kids. I thought about how excited the children will be to see the visitors, to play with them, braid their hair, have their nails painted (the boys love this too!), sing songs and eat some of the goodies stuffed into those backpacks.
I include the prayer below as an offering for the 15 nurses travelling to see our kids in Haiti today.
A Collect for Grace
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have
brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your
mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome
by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of
your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.