I went on a very adventurous, exhausting plane trip to Boston last weekend. I was flying there to spend the weekend with my daughter Mary Elizabeth. She had musical theater auditions for the New England theaters and I was traveling to support her and spend a few days together. The weekend flying adventure began when I arrived at the Baton Rouge airport for a 7:30am flight. I noticed there was no plane at the gate. With my past travel experiences that is the first thing you learn to look for. Well, as I waited to board, of course, there was the dreaded announcement,
“This plane has been delayed for mechanical problems.” We wait. Another announcement. More delay!!
This was especially frustrating as I watched other planes take off for Atlanta and the connection time for my Boston flight get shorter and shorter.
Then there was finally the announcement. Boarding! But, after we were finally all on the plane sitting and waiting for about an hour the pilot began to speak.....
"We will have to deplane! It seems the mechanical problem isn’t fixed after all!....something about the air flaps not working properly! "
So all of us filed off the plane and got in line to wait to rebook our flights as I watched yet another flight take off in the air to Atlanta with me not on it! When I finally reached the counter, very unhappy, I was greeted with these words, “Oh, I’m so sorry but you have missed all of your connections. We will have to reroute you through Dallas. You will arrive in Boston around 10:00pm instead of 3pm....if all goes on schedule.”
Now I certainly don’t want to fly on a plane with mechanical problems, but I was losing sight of that as my plans fell apart.
Everything is out of my control. Everything is in His hands.
Several friends were praying for our travel safety and arrangements. We seem to always have issues.
Our choir even wrote a song about it - “Travel adventures in Drakeland!” It has lots of verses!
This trip was giving material for yet another verse!
Earlier in the day Sherry had emailed me her thought for the day:
“See God at work in every circumstance and join Him!”
Hmm... Well, if I'm really honest, I wasn’t in the mood. I was pretty frustrated and mad at the airlines
for messing up my plans!
So I called my daughter. Her plane was also going back to the gate with mechanical problems! We had arranged for our flights to arrive within minutes of each other in Boston so that we could go together to the hotel outside of the city. But those were our plans. Now she would have to maneuver the airport... find the shuttle to take her 45 minutes outside of the city, take another shuttle to the hotel, and check into the hotel by herself.
I guess it’s time?..... I know she can handle it...... It’s just the momma being forced to let go.
As I waited to board my next rescheduled flight, seven hours later than my original one, on another airline at another gate I once again kept looking out the window for the plane. I couldn't believe my ears when it was announced that this flight would be late departing! I just had to remind myself to breathe! Many hours later that day when I let Sherry know that I finally was boarding a plane for Boston out of Dallas, she reminded me of her email thought for the day and texted me - “must be a growing up experience for Mary Elizabeth and a trusting experience for you.”
And that it was!
As I settled into my second flight, in the middle seat of course, I heard the woman next to me talking to her dad and her husband. She was flying in from Sydney, Australia. I thought I was having a long day! I'm not typically one to be chatty with other passengers sitting next to me, but through the course of the flight we talked. She had traveled all over the world with her job and been to Australia twelve times and had made many friends there. This latest trip was business combined with a visit to the family of her close friend who had recently died of cancer. She said, “ I traveled across the world and found my “soul mate” friend in Australia.” As she spoke, she began to cry. I cried. She said, “I went to Sydney recently .We had planned a girl trip back to my friends homeland in Greece before it was too late. But she was too weak to go. I just wanted to be there for her.” She spoke of how hard it was to be so far away during her friends illness. As I listened, I knew why my flight plans had been such a disaster. This woman was tired and mourning... to the point that she bared her sorrows to a total stranger. She needed someone to listen, really listen and try to understand what she was feeling. I listened and let her cry. She showed me pictures of her friend with the big, beautiful smile that had brought her so much joy in their friendship despite the many miles they lived apart. I cried. Finally she slept. I am rarely able to sleep on airplanes no matter how tired I am, but I had plenty of time to pray.
It turned out we had several things in common. She was from Boston, but now lived in Maine very close to my family there. I always travel with my own tea bags and so when I requested a cup of hot water on the plane we began talking about how much we both loved a good cup of tea. In fact, she had brought some wonderful Australian tea home with her. And it was clear that we both cherished good friendships.
Later on in the flight as everyone slept around me on the plane, the words of that thought of the day from my friend came to my mind once more, “See God at work in every circumstance and join Him!”
Finally, I arrived at the Boston airport, very late and weary, but I was safe. We talked about where I was going pretty far outside the city and she advised me that it was best not to take the shuttle as I had planned because it was so late and might not be safe. Besides she advised that I wouldn’t want to wait outside so long in the Boston winter cold and snow. I was grateful for her wisdom and advise. I would have gone blindly into a situation I didn’t totally understand. So I took the very expensive 45 minute cab ride to the hotel, something I would never have done otherwise.
But, I sensed that the Father was at work in these simple conversations and difficult circumstances of my day. I felt that all of my delays had brought me to be there for this woman and that now He had placed her there for me.
I had learned to trust God’s hand in the whole situation. He was working in the midst of my circumstances.
Often we don't really know how the Father is working on our behalf.
Finally, about 9 hours later than expected, I arrived to a very relieved daughter who had managed just fine without her momma. I'm sure the whole experience had built her confidence in her ability to launch out on her own in NYC soon. We fixed a cup of hot tea and chatted about our adventurous day of travel. Her flight had also had small delays for mechanical problems with air flaps, too! I took a hot bath to wash off the weariness of the day and reflected on the lessons learned in the long day of travel. At this point I had been up for twenty hours.Then we settled in for a good nights sleep and a wonderful weekend!
This week will you trust that God holds the moments of your life in His hands? You too will most likely face unexpected circumstances, delays or changes in your plans, difficult situations, or possibly an opportunity to bring comfort to a stranger.
I hope that you will pause and reflect on how you see God at work in the everyday moments of your life. And then you will be faced with a choice.
Will you join him? He can be trusted.
Oh and here we are together waiting for our flight back home to Baton Rouge from Atlanta.....More delays...More mechanical problems....This time it seems the door to the airplane isn't shutting properly! Really??? Yes!!
But, eventually we made it safely home. He does hold us in HIs hands. When we finally got on the plane. I asked the flight attendant for 2 cups of hot water and some of those yummy cookies. She said, "I see you have your own tea bags". I had brought along my daughter's favorite, Lady Grey.
I smiled as we sipped our tea and savored the last moments of our travel adventure on our plane trip home and looked forward to having her home for her last college spring break.
As I post this, I am planning a trip up to Oklahoma City in just a few days where all of our family will gather for her Senior Musical Theater Voice Recital. I'm holding my plans loosely! My sister and mom are planning to come and my oldest daughter will be flying in to meet us with her husband and our grand daughter.
This time though I'm grateful that I will be driving!
Seeing God at work and trusting in His plans,
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