I am sitting in the Miami Airport waiting for my flight to Havana. My last day in Texas was very quiet. I went out Friday night to hear some music and slept late. I went to a session on the genocide of Native Americans in California among other topics. Had very good barbeque beef at Ironworks near the hotel, and I spent the rest of the day reading and watching sports. The Tarheels won, which is always good. I had to wake up before 3 a.m. to catch my flight in Austin, but it was a comfortable flight and I caught a nap. I had a cup of strong espresso when I landed in Miami, but even that did not keep me from making a couple of missteps while searching for the ABC Charters near Door 1. Bishop Sam’s directions were fine; it was my disorientation. Now I have tickets and a boarding pass and a two hour wait for the flight.
I always get a little nervous when traveling and often need sleeping pills to help at night, but this is different. I’m flying alone to a country where I cannot speak the language and where my government only recently opened an embassy. When I was in my 20s, this was easy. Why does it get harder with 30 years of experience? Is it the knowledge of what can go wrong or is it just that as the sum of our years grows we feel that we are risking more? Perhaps it is just that it is harder to generate the endorphins from excitement that mask the pains of our fears and fatigue. So many joints in my body hurt right now.
I talked to my wife and two of my daughters last night by Skype. They are well. My youngest was getting ready to perform with the Royal Marine Band and the other was heading off to work. It is easier to travel now that they are almost grown and independent. And my wife is doing well. I hope they enjoy this mother-daughter time without Dad. But it is hard not to feel guilty and lonely without them.
But I am truly excited to be going to Cuba. Excited in a way I have not been in years. The adventure of a new land, meeting new people, and getting to play a role in the creation of a new Moravian Province. Yes, I’m nervous that they will not like what I have to say; that I will appear stupid because I am fluent only in my own language; that I will be perceived as an overbearing American dictating how they should do church. I am flying off into the unknown in faith, though. Faith that the laws of physics will hold true and the plane will fly; faith that there will be someone to meet me in Havana; and faith that the brothers and sisters in Cuba will welcome me a brother despite my flaws and ignorance. It is exciting as an historian to be in the midst of history in the making!