Friday, April 23, 2010

Stuck in London

I would have enjoyed London given a different circumstance. The art galleries and museum here are world class standard but sadly I lost all interest. All I wanted is to go home. Heathrow airport remained closed. The feeling of being trapped in an expensive place without money and credit card is unnerving. I had moved three times and lived in three different homes in a span of 7 days. Each host was kind enough to house me. The last one, Lai Meng and William, overwhelmed me with their generosity and grace. They told me I could stay as long as I like. The last two days I spent my time in CWM office. Tried as hard as I could, my mind just would not absorb any things I read. It was so unreal that I sometimes felt lost. The newspaper reported that it is unsafe for the airplanes to fly as the plane engines would suck in the volcanic ash and turned the silica into glass and crippled the engines completely. BBC daily news added to the fear of flying as it continually showed the ferocious volcanic explosion shooting the ash into the sky 5 miles high. Any plane was to fly into the volcanic plumes would be suicidal. The scientists and mathematicians in UK use the mathematical model of probability to calculate the risk factor of flying. The model together with Satellite mapping is able to project the area of coverage of the ash cloud. It is also able to tell the different zones of density of the volcanic ash. Using this model of projection, the Civil Aviation Authority decided to go for a blanket ban for all flights.

I think so much about Constance, Sarah and Sam. I think about church and the people who are close to me. I reflect on my life and ministry. Ironically I am due to preach the topic in CDPC this Sunday: Leaving and Living the Legacy. When one is facing with the possibility of death, many things become insignificant, only a few things matter. My mind suddenly becomes crystal clear on how I want to live my life and on what I will change the way I do ministry. This is a whole new experience for me.

The book that I read last month “The Last Lecture” by Randy takes on a new meaning. Randy had only six months to live when he was diagnosed with cancer. He prepared his last lecture and it was intended as his legacy for his children.

I was alone in the CWM meeting room. I read the Scriptures and prayed. I poured out my heart to God and I cried unashamedly. The emotional upheaval was too much to bear. I could identify with the psalmist who lamented: “Why am I so discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God.”

Every alternate day, I had to take the underground train to Earl’s court and then walked to MAS office to rebook my flight. The MAS telephone line was impossible to connect. Thousands of passengers jammed the phone. Every time when the flight is cancelled one has to go to MAS office in Cromwell to rebook the flight. No one in MAS management or in any airline has come up with a system that can help passengers during crisis. Every other airline faces the same problem.

Since the British government dispatched its warships to repatriate those stranded, I fantasize that Malaysia PM would send his submarines to rescue Malaysians, I was jostled to reality when I called the Malaysian Embassy in London only to be greeted with the voicemail. Voicemail is a great modern device to deter people from being reached. I kept calling; the same voicemail repeated the same thing all the time. In time of crisis, I discovered who my true friends are and that I don’t matter to my country.

I am now in Heathrow terminal 4 with 9 hours to kill before the flight would take place. What a relief when the Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis announced that all UK airports will be reopened for short and long haul flights last night.

Reading Psalm 40 reassures me: “I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD. Oh, the joys of those who trust the LORD.”

I know that my feet with touch Malaysia soil when I woke up tomorrow. God is great and he is good.

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