The challenge today was to use a vintage photo on our tag:
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IN GOOD HANDS
28th in the Tuesday Story Series
My husband John traveled several times a year in his previous job and always wanted me to join him on these trips. I usually went, and in the days Tabitha was too young to travel, she stayed with friends while we were gone. I remember in 1987 a trip we made to Washington DC at the beginning of Thanksgiving week. We stayed at the L'Enfant Plaza, which is on the Mall and I had a wonderful time in our nation's capital. The weather was gorgeous and I visited everything I could while John was in meetings all day. We were to return home the day before Thanksgiving.
When Wednesday arrived, we woke up to a very dreary and dismal day. By the time we got to the National airport, right across the Potomac Basin from Washington, the weather was completely foul, and we found out that on this, the busiest travel day of the year, all of the planes were running a couple of hours behind. Once we boarded the plane and I looked out of the window, I could barely make out the Washington Monument which was just across the water. We were exhausted and John promptly fell asleep in the seat next to me. I wondered how in the world the pilots would know how to get us safely into the air on the short runway and in such poor visibility. I hadn't realized I voiced my concerns out loud until the passenger in the seat on the other side of John spoke up in reply. He assured me that the pilots were very experienced in flying by instruments and that all would be well.
I leaned around John and saw a tall, thin, nice looking man about our age, with a reassuring smile. I thanked him, but I had to ask him just how he knew about instrument flying (I was still somewhat nervous about it). He then introduced himself to me:
"My name is Steven Nagel and I'm an astronaut. I've piloted the Space Shuttle three times."
Well, that was reassuring!
The plane began its takeoff and soon we were above the storm clouds and in a clear sky. All the way to Atlanta, he and I chatted. During the conversation we talked about what it was like to see the world from such a different perspective and he also told me that he was a Christian. He shared with me about how important God was in his life and that he led a Bible study for fellow astronauts in Houston. Such a rare glimpse of God's creation he had been able to have, and it was very clear that he savored every moment of it. I told him about our daughter Tabitha and he asked for our address, so that he could send some materials to her.
As we approached Atlanta, John finally woke up. I introduced him to our traveling companion as the wheels touched the ground. We all shook hands and he went off to his connecting flight to Houston and we headed to our flight to Charleston.
Col. Nagel was good on his word and soon we received a photo of him, which he signed for Tabitha, and a photo of the Space Shuttle taking off on a night launch and I put them both in a scrapbook I was making at the time. He is retired now from the Air Force and lives in Canton IL. I was sorry to see the Shuttle Program end recently, and I'm sure he was too. For further information about Col. Nagel, see this link.
It was a wonderful experience to have my fears quieted by a fellow Christian who knew we were indeed in very good hands!
Have a great Tuesday!