On the afternoon of June 28, 2016, I'd been on a ten hour flight from Atlanta, GA to Istanbul, Turkey. I was headed to the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. The plane landed around 4:40 p.m. in Istanbul, and I took a shuttle and made my way to International Flight Connections in Ataturk. Next stop was Brussels, Belgium.
In the airport, I stood in front of the flight information screen for over 10 minutes feeling dumbfounded by what I was NOT seeing - my flight. So I sat down and pretended patience. A little girl played in my hair and a mom sat next to me and nursed her fussy child. She apologized and I smiled at her, and told her I understood, I once nursed a fussy little girl.
I watched as the airport filled with eager passengers awaiting to get to their destination across the world.
Despite looking fine, I felt uneasy because I wanted to ask someone to help me with the flight screen to make sure I was not overlooking but the pride of an English teacher and the fact I always tell my students to "Read first and ask later" would not allow me.
I tried to get on the WiFi to tell my family I had made it to Istanbul safely and I would contact them when I landed in Brussels, Belgium, but to no ends avail did the internet work for me. I was growing impatient because I could not contact my family nor was my flight showing up on the screen. So I dozed off for about 10 minutes and when I woke up and I looked at the screen, there was my flight but it had changed to 19:20 p.m. instead of 18:20. p.m. So I took the elevator to the designated area upstairs and I waited.
I grabbed a sandwich (which I trashed immediately), candy coated pistachios, a Twix, an orange Fanta, and some BBQ Lays. I ate and I read my book "Travesty in Haiti" and made small conversation with a nearby passenger from Belgium.
Soon it became time for us to board, it was around 7:10 p.m. in Turkey when we started boarding. We took off sometime around 7:50 p.m. We began landing in Brussels, Belgium approximately around 9:45-9:50 p.m. and by 10:05 p.m. (they are an hour behind Istanbul's time) phones were ringing like crazy for all the other passengers but not mine because I get no service outside the U.S. I noticed the passengers were holding their mouths and staring wide eyed per the conversations. I knew immediately something was wrong.
After he hung up his phone with an "I'm sorry to hear that," the elder guy who was next to me said, "Did you board from the Ataturk.... No of course you did ... Ataturk was just attacked. The airport we just left was bombed." It got silent on the plane. And we all rushed off to contact our families.
After alerting my family and friends via Facebook LIVE, (there was no other way as I had no other apps loaded nor was there time for me to think to load apps) I realized I had plans to stay the last two days of my vacation in Istanbul, Turkey AND my flight back to Atlanta involved a 12 hour layover in Istanbul. I called immediately to cancel all plans and reroute my flight. I am still working on the flight reroute, so keep me in your prayers on that.
Fast forward to today, I am writing this to you while some are in mourning. Some father, mother, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, grand mom, granddad, fiance, fiancee, best friend, Godmother, Godfather, etc. will not make it back to their family or loved ones. And that saddens me. It breaks my heart and it should break yours, too.
We know why this happened. And we can not undo this nor any other horrific, terrorist act of violence. What we can do is examine our lives and how we treat others and seek to serve a higher power. For me, that higher power is Jesus. I know Jesus and while many were scared for me, I hold true to the fact that I am saved and because of that, I will have an eternal home in heaven. But do you? Think on that. If you do not, read Romans 2, 8, and 10 in the Holy Bible to lead to the road of salvation.
There has been so many incidents lately that drive me into God's hands. I can't trust this world or even my feelings. I want to hate, but I must love and spread love in a world that desperately needs it. So this is my plea to all who may read this. There is something higher and mightier than us, I see that every time I take a flight and look at the majesty of even the clouds in the sky.
Don't let anyone who has died die in vain. Use their deaths as an unction to examine your life as it is but a vapor as "yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes" (James 4:14) but you can have new life in Jesus Christ: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
So pray for change. Pray for you.Pray for Turkey. Pray for the World. Pray for a flood of love to flood the hearts of people. And be the change you pray for in the world. Change starts with YOU.
It's not everyday that a blue tang fish swims into our lives and teaches us invaluable lessons along with her aquatic friends. Pixar's latest release, Finding Dory, does just that. Here's some powerful lessons from Dory and friends:
Dory tells us over and over that when we get lost and can't find our way in the oceans of life to, "Just keep swimming; just keep swimming." Why? Because eventually, we'll find our way.
Every animal in the ocean needed another's help to survive in some form of fashion. From driving to directions, to tags to tails. I won't spill all the details of the film, but just know you'll walk away with a reformed perception of the "it takes a village or in this case an ocean" philosophy.
Words Can Hurt. Pride Kills.
Marlin's impatience and oftentimes haughty temperament causes him to say words that sting like a ray. It's not until Nemo points it out to him that he realizes what he says can hurt others. Marlin also realizes pride can cause you to be unappreciative and negative to the ones you actually love.
We All Have Differences.
From a cantankerous octopus with seven tentacles, a Beluga whale who is losing his sonar power abilities, to a near-sighted whale shark, and a socially awkward seal to name a few, the ocean houses a slew of aquatic life with disabilities. And Dory teaches us how to see past the them and how to deal with those who are irrespective of those differences.
By the film's end, Dory doesn't just teach us how to speak whale, she teaches us how to love and appreciate those around us despite their imperfections, because in the end, we're all in this together.
There's several more lessons in the film, but I'll let you figure them out. What are you waiting for? Go find, Dory because you just might find yourself.