A lump grew in my throat as I poured my daughter's cup of tea down the sink yesterday morning just after she left. It would be the last cup of tea that I could make for her for more than four months. She didn't have time to drink her tea as she bustled around the house, gathering everything she would need for her trip to India that she was too tired to pack the night before; checking off the two lists I had made for her of what needed to be done and what needed to be packed. Still, with all of our plans and preparation, notoriously we are always running around at the last minute in a bit of a panic.
But, after all, this wasn't just any trip. It was a trip that would take my daughter away from us for a big chunk of time–a trip in which Jessica needed to prepare ahead with notarized documents for power of attorney, many inoculations, prescriptions for medications, passport, visa, and plenty more things and details. She would need to take anti-malaria medicine a few days before leaving and everyday while there in India and for a couple of weeks after she arrives home.
I admire Jessica's courage, open mind, and energy to embark on such a trip as a "study abroad college student." However, my mother's heart is concerned about the travel and what lies ahead being so far from home for so long in a foreign country such as this where disease may be rampant and foods, though enjoyable to her, may reek havoc to her small delicate body. Will she get homesick? What if she gets sick? She did get sick in Bangladesh. And then, of course, there was the monsoon in Bangladesh while she was there that took over 1,000 lives and no word from Jessica for days when the electrical power was out there in many places. All kinds of questions spin through my brain, however my heart places her in Jesus' arms and under Mary's mantle. I will envelop her in prayer unceasingly as will the family and friends.
The actual traveling part of Jessica's trip involves three flights – one to Washington, DC to meet up with the small group of eight or so students going to India, another flight to Germany, and the last one to India. After she arrives in India she will take a five hour train ride, a bus and then the last part of her trip by elephant! I am still awaiting word about my daughter's safe arrival at her destination in India. Her journey will continue until Monday sometime.
Last night when all was quiet, I sat on Jessica's bed to say some more prayers in addition to prayers all day for her and her fellow group of students. I felt blessed and comforted to be able to pray from a special prayer book that belonged to my dear friend, Fr. Bill. I didn't hold back on any prayers to our dear Blessed Mother, prayers for protection from the mighty Arch Angels and our beloved Saints. You can bet that I am waiting to exhale my big sigh of relief when I get word of my daughter's safe arrival in India- please God.
If you feel so inclined, dear reader, please say a little prayer for my brave daughter, for her trip, and her extended stay in India – a place I hope to go to someday because of my affiliation with and love for Blessed Mother Teresa and the poor in Calcutta.
(photo is Jessica about to leave early in the morning with her pillow under her arm to catch a little nap on the way to the airport)