Saturday, May 26 2018 - 1:08 PM
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Travel Care

“You’ve got to be careful!” I caught myself repeating the phrase (again) to Maddie, my 19 year old, but it sounded empty as it passed through my lips. Our middle daughter is going to school in England, and she had just announced to us that she was planning to travel to Paris, Spain, and Italy on her autumn break. I was less than thrilled.

My struggle with wanting to control the situation almost usurped my ability to smile or to try to be understanding. How does a daddy allow himself to get excited for his little girl when her plans include hopping planes, trains, buses, and subways in three different countries? Her choice of travel companions didn’t make me feel any better either because they were two young women who were also novices at navigating foreign excursions, seeking an adventure.

She posted pictures from each country; smiling photos of her “kissing” the Eiffel Tower, eating croissants in a Parisian café, enjoying the beach in Barcelona, and striking a pose in front of the Coliseum. She stayed in touch daily, and through the magic of technology we were able to video-chat with her more than once while she adventured her way through 13 days of travel.

She finally arrived safely back at school, our family breathed a collective sigh of relief, and our lives entered a reasonable semblance of “normal” once again.

I tried to make sense of the horror as I watched the news a week or so later. Angry men with guns had entered a nightclub in Paris and began randomly executing concert-goers with apparent indiscrimination to who they were firing upon. Shootings and explosions took place in other areas of the city as well. Our daughter told us that one of these sites was literally one street over from where she was staying on her excursion to France.

More than 120 people have lost their lives as I write this, and I am numb to think that anyone could possibly pick up a gun and be this callous or unfeeling. The “father” in me has pondered the thought a thousand different ways — my little girl could have been one of those unfortunate victims. Yes, I am thankful for the safety that she experienced while she traveled, but my heart is ripped open for those who lost their loved ones to the random violence that transpired just weeks after she visited.

My thankfulness is mingled with the hollow recognition that we live in a very messy world where anything can happen at any time. I’m pretty settled on the idea that it all needs to be taken care of, and I’m asking God for the grace to believe that it will be…in His time.

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About Michael Temple

Michael Temple

writes from Grand Forks, North Dakota.

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