The pilot made some announcements--I had to assume they were standard protocol since they were given in Arabic--and we taxied down the runway. The plane lifted and I was officially at the point of no return.
Throughout the flight we played some card games, sang quietly, and read books we had brought along. I could read the emotions that traversed across my teammates' eyes and they mirrored my own; Excitement and Confidence meshed with Fear and Reality. We all talked and even smiled, but we lacked the laughter that had marked our trip in the previous two weeks.
The pilot came over the intercom, and we politely listened. Repeatedly he declared:
In šāʾ Allāh
If Allah Wills
This plane will land at 3:00 if Allah wills.
Lord, this plane is under your control alone, I thought. It was a thought, a prayer and a plea all at the same time. I did not want to be at the mercy of this god of Tunisia I had began to understand in my 2 weeks in France. You, o Lord, are in control of all things and my life rests in your hands, amen.
But three words, If Allah Wills, would forever change my life.