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Cracks in a Glass House

In my last blog I set the stage - but one which I now don’t know how to act on!

I’ve struggled to write this post, and will struggle with the next ones too. I don’t like beating old beehives, and it’s not my personality to want live in yesterday’s experiences - from them I’ve learned what I’ve learned, so let’s move on and talk about tomorrow.

But I will!

Outwardly, we’re barraged with an onslaught of information from all sides, and discerning truth and lies has become hard for many. Or, maybe it’s not hard? Maybe we just keep looking, listening, searching, because we’re hoping that, somehow, what our hearts are telling us is true, isn’t?

We’ve entered a moment in time when people’s hearts are beginning to fail because of fear. Is what I have to offer them only found in the repetition of structured program?

Our demand for justice should never include punishment for the oppressor, but should always include restoration for the one being oppressed - it’s why Jesus endured the cross. I’ve lived with this in my heart for many years, and it’s the foundation for why I do what I do, and how I do it.

Welcome to Schiphol!

Daph and I boarded KLM Flight, KL 592, and departed from O.R.Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, at 00:50, November 26, 2021, destined for Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. What we couldn’t know was that this aircraft would become home for almost sixteen hours.

Before I go on, it’s important to know that neither Daph nor I, ever felt that we were being treated poorly, throughout the whole experience. We‘re not victims.

The flight itself was very good, as is to be expected from KLM, a world class airline.

Toward the end of the flight, an announcement, directed by the Dutch Minister of Health, was made that all passengers on this flight were going to be tested because of a newly found variant of the covid virus, which had been identified by South African scientists.

Upon landing we heard the normal “Welcome to Schiphol … you may now use your mobile devices.” announcement, while the aircraft was directed to park on an apron, from where we would all be taken to a testing area in the airport terminal. We would then be re-directed to the relevant places based on the outcomes of our new PCR test results.

Expecting disruptions of arrival pickups and onward travel, passengers began tomake plans accordingly. Some, in an attempt to find out what was really going on, started to read the already breaking news about us - the worlds panic response was already in full swing. News travelled fast, almost ahead of us! Hmm.

MSM… Really!?

South Africa, where we had all come from, and where Daph and I had just spent three fantastic months, was normal. Yes, masks were in, but life was normal and people were rebuilding life after their previous shutdowns and restrictions. SA case numbers were low and the variant for which we were now being held on account of, was no threat. And is still no threat.

As people relayed the news articles, I remember thinking to myself,, “That's not the way it is, they are not being honest, or fair to the situation!”, and this with a measure of anger rising up in me - hopefully righteous. The panic portrayed by mainstream media wasn’t justified, something which I’d always known, but now I was personally in the middle of their story. They were writing about me, in a sense.

It’s appropriate to note, here, that onboard our flight was a reporter for The New York Times. I met her later in the testing terminal and we had a brief conversation, during which she simply regurgitated what I’ve come to know the mainstream media message to be. I was saddened, and somewhat confused why she wasn’t documenting the same stuff that I was? She’s the reporter, isn’t she? Isn’t it her job to tell facts and truth?

In a soon after released New York Times article, another reporter referenced this lady who was on our flight, saying, and I quote, ““So I’m in my 3d hour on a tarmac at Schiphol,” she tweeted, after her flight from Johannesburg had landed. “While my flight from Jo’burg was somewhere over Chad, Europe went into variant panic; by the time we landed, we weren’t allowed off the plane.”

Many passengers had ignored mask requirements, she said.””

This comment, many passengers had ignored mask requirements, is categorically untrue! Ms. MSM... Really!?

KLM has strict mask policies, which are also strictly enforced by crew members at all times.

This irresponsible reporting does a few things.

  • It puts in question KLM’s integrity, inferring that they did not diligently adhere to, nor enforce, their policies. This untrue, and is unfair to KLM.

  • Secondly, it adds sensationalism to a one-sided story, presumably to gain reader traction - maybe even compound a narrative?

  • Thirdly, these statements continue to drive the unGodly polarization between people, regarding this current global condition.

I digress, I'm sorry! Back to the plane.

Global. Health. Crises.

The short wait onboard became an hour, then two hours, three, four, and, eventually five hours. The flight crew were outstanding, deserving of honour for their service. The captain did his utmost to communicate whatever information he could glean from the people who had put us there in the first place - which wasn’t much, nor was it helpful, but he did well with what he had, and obviously equally as frustrated as the rest of us.

Food and drink supplies were running out so the captain requested for new supplies to be brought on board, but his request was denied.

It would seem, to me, that there is only one reasonable explanation for holding other humans in confinement for hours, without communication or leadership, and denying them of food and water. This would have to be for great fear of a highly contagious virus variant escaping the aircraft if the doors were to be opened to receive those needed supplies.

Let’s entertain that as the reason, but it won’t hold water later.

Being me, I walked around and talked with people, it’s what I do. During the whole seventeen-hour ordeal, I probably interacted with about eighty-percent of the passengers, in some way.

Still on the airplane, at one point while I was standing in the rear galley and talking to a crew member, an alarm signalled on the crew communication screen, which read, “Potable water running low.”

The toilets were in need of cleaning, and toilet paper was running out.

I’m an adventurer, I don’t need fancies or frillies, I’ve had worse. And, I didn’t note these things for me, they were just my growing list of evident cracks in a glass house.

With tensions heightening among the passengers and crew, about four hours into the wait the captain spoke again, and told us that busses were finally on their way. Visibly relieved, one of the crew members began to cry - this was taking its toll on everyone, but for us, the passengers, it was it only the beginning.

Three hundred people, confined for five hours in a large can, breathing each other’s air, in very close proximity to each other, and all, from time to time, removing masks to drink or eat the remaining chocolate brownies - forced to do the very things that the narrative tells us not to do! We’re in a global health crises, people!

Or, are we?

My own alarm bells were ringing - the inconsistencies between message and practice were glaring at me, face to face, already.

Beautiful People

But, there is beauty in the ashes, reflected in this story which moved me, as I watched from my airplane window.

At the end of the disembarkation of the Cape Town flight which was parked next to us on the apron, the very last person to exit their aircraft was an elderly man who clearly needed assistance. It was raining, and from the door of the aircraft the man emerged, assisted by someone who looked to be the captain of that flight. As they slowly made their way down the stairway to the bus, my heart said, “This is the true reflection of care, compassion, and kindness!”

In stark contrast to what is being broadcast from other places, this was real humanity in action.

In these days we must be the same. But we don’t need the cookie jar to be Him, and we don’t need the cookie cutter to be like Him. As much as we do for the least of these, we do it to Him.

We’ve made it complicated, but the good news of Jesus is quite simple, really! All this, and my brokenness too, was put on Him, so that we can be with Him when it’s all done.

It’s time to keep our eyes fixed fiercely on the One who’s blood has been painted on the frames and mantles of our hearts. And it’s time to keep our hearts fixed intimately on the One who is in us, to lead us.

… and the things of the earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

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Anna K
Anna K
Dec 12, 2021

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

C. S. Lewis

Darrin Clark
Darrin Clark
Dec 13, 2021
Replying to

Wow! Thank you Anna, for sharing that truth. I love C.S. Lewis' work and wisdom, but had never read that before. So true to what we are experiencing today.

Bless you abundantly!

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