You know, I have such a short memory that it occurs to me that I should be writing down my experiences as they occur. That way, I can remember this trip of a lifetime!
It all started when my friend Karen, also a lung cancer survivor, wrote on one of her medical updates that she was hoping to go to Israel early next year (2019). I replied to her message, saying I was looking forward to living vicariously through her pictures. (She is a great tour guide, even if you are not along with her! She posts pictures with lots of information accompanying them.)
My journey began when I got an email from Karen inviting me to actually join her for the trip. Upon reading the email, I yelled upstairs to my husband, “Hey! Do you care if I go to Israel?”
In a matter of moments, it was decided I could go! Wow! I never, ever dreamed I would ever go on a trip like this!! I am still not sure I believe it.
Oh Man! Where Do I Start?
Within just a few days, we had talked to our travel agency and paid the deposit. This is becoming real!
Since I have never been out of the country before, I have no passport. So, I called about getting an appointment so I could get that process started. Well. No. If you live in Texas, you need a special birth certificate … and that’s not the one I had, of course.
It takes up to a month to get one from the office in Austin, the only Vital Statistics office in Texas that has the birth certificate I need (long form). Okay. I have time.
But, the online ordering system crashes every time I try to place the order. I call their tech support. They can’t figure out what’s wrong. My case gets escalated.
I never heard back from Tech Support, but decided after a couple of days to try it and see if I could place the order. I was starting to get worried! Fortunately, even though Tech Support failed to inform me that they had corrected the problem (gee, thanks!), the problem was remedied and I was able to place the order.
I settled in to wait. God was on my side. I got my certificate in only a few weeks. Yes!!
Karen and I bought trip insurance. Since we never know when or if our cancer is going to return with a vengeance, we felt it was prudent to do so. She’d recently had a scan showing that her tumor is stable; I was waiting on mine. I had it last week.
I admit I was holding my breath a little. I didn’t have any reason to think it wouldn’t show that my tumors are stable, the same as they have been for the last five years, but I still can’t quite believe this trip is really going to happen. I keep thinking something is going to cause it not to work out.
I was gratified to learn that my scan shows all is still well. Tumors are stable, no growth, no new tumors. Yes!! I won’t have another scan until the week after we return from our trip, so even if there is growth or spreading between now and then (I have no reason to expect there will be except that I am still expecting something to cause me not to get to go) I won’t know it.
Bible Study at the Passport Office
I’m not quite sure why, but I was nervous about going to the Passport Office. I guess that makes no sense. Well, really, there’s no “guess” to it. It makes no sense. But, I was nervous all the same.
A nice man came in, took my picture, and looked over all of the information I brought (driver’s license, new birth certificate, application), and we started talking about the fact that I am 65 years old and have never been out of the country before. He asked where I was going.
“Israel,” I said. He looked at me, probably noted the cross I wear around my neck, and said, “Your life will never the be same.” When he talked about walking where Jesus did, I got chills up and down my arms!
I’m sure that the Post Office probably wouldn’t condone our visiting for 30 minutes about God’s goodness and His mighty power and about how powerful it is to go to the place where Jesus was born, taught, died, and rose again. But, I left almost floating on air! It was as good as any church service would have been. And, I am even more excited than ever to make the trip.
Now, I just have to wait about 3 weeks for that passport to arrive. Then, I’ll really feel like this trip is going to happen!!