Donna Day © 2020
All was simple and straightforward until we began to look for our airport contact. We landed in Turkey in the afternoon, navigated immigration, retrieved our luggage, and tumbled into a pit of confusion.
Where was our personal greeter from the tour company? How would Judi and I recognize the one person sent to greet us in this throng of people? At first, we laughed about the mystery and knew all was going to be fine. After 20 minutes of scanning the horde while being bombarded by the cacophonous roar of the many people gathered to celebrate reunion, our enthusiasm dwindled and doubts penetrated our minds. How could we think when the sounds echoed and vibrated in our heads? Determinedly we looked in a systematic pattern, left to right and back again, but our faces and hearts were no longer open and breezy. Scan after scan later, our voices sounded less optimistic; a tad more tense... My cheery: “We will see the contact this time we look through the crowd!” eventually devolved to: “Let’s hope, our person will come or call before tonight.”
Persistent desperation guided us or we never would have found our person! Rather than a large, colorful, machine-printed sign from the tour company as most greeters held above their heads, the man sent to meet us held a tiny, unobtrusive piece of cardboard next to his chest on which our names were handwritten in small, black letters. Perhaps he secretly hoped we would not find him, we half-joked.
Our guide did not introduce himself. Rather he nodded to us and shouted into his cell phone in Turkish. He sounded and looked quite agitated and annoyed. He pointed to a spot in the airport and commanded with an authority that allowed for no questioning, “Wait!” We waited and he disappeared. At that point, we began speculating on whether we had been abandoned or not. I conjectured, “You know being left here at the airport could really be a good thing. I mean, what do we know about him?”
He eventually reappeared and gave our suitcases to another man who may or may not have spoken English. All we knew, for sure, was that he was wearing a white shirt and did not choose to speak to us in any language! The man with the wee sign commanded in a clear, loud voice: “Follow that man.” Feeling like characters in an old mystery movie, we followed the man in the white shirt who had picked up our suitcases and began scurrying through the crowd. We followed behind and waited when he was stopped by a man who appeared to wield authority. The two shouted, growled, shrugged, and when that conversation was complete, we hurried on in silence trying to keep up with the white-shirted man who was carrying all of our belongings as he rushed through the airport and outside to a parking beyond a parking lot. Desperate to keep up with him, we did not have time to speculate on what was happening as our blind faith now stretched thinner! Suddenly, he stopped behind an old white car, put our suitcases in the trunk, and motioned for us to get inside. The white-shirted man was clearly in a hurry, we dared not guess where we were going or why…
He sped through Istanbul maneuvering around vehicles like a genie. Rather than waste our time worrying, we clung to hope, sat back, relaxed and savored the view which was amazing! Blind faith made for a wonderful adventure in that taxi. Whizzing past our eyes were exotic flowers, trees, the Bosporus River, and the crumbling walls of Constantinople, the ancient city now named Istanbul. These magnificent sights were juxtaposed with scenes of imminent vehicle crashes, most of which included our taxi! Thoughts of joy, delight, marvel, and complete terror vied for our attention. Surely all we could/should do was relax and enjoy the view, especially knowing it might be our last.
As quickly as it began, our journey with the white-shirted man was now at an end so we gave him a tip. He left us at the Armada hotel without so much as a peep in acknowledgement of us or the tip, offering instead a competent nod. He had delivered the goods; his mission was complete.
We waved our thanks savoring how good it felt to stop holding our breath!
I look back on the experience and realize this simple tale contains powerful Truth. We can spend our lives worried about what is coming next, angry about what happened before or we can savor each precious moment.