Gift #1022: Incompetent Airlines and the Kindness of Strangers

It’s been a long time since I blogged last.  I’ve been traveling a bit, visiting with family and enjoying spending time with them.  I got to meet my newest nephew, play with my 3-year old nephew, celebrate his birthday, spend time with my brother and sister-in-law, and play with their dogs.  It was a wonderful time with them.  I had to fly back earlier this week and they dropped me off at the airport and then things fell apart rather quickly.  After getting on and off various planes, being delayed, etc. we finally made it to Dallas, where I had missed my connecting flight back home.  I was booked on a later flight that night and within ten minutes of rebooking, the flight had been delayed over 2 hours.  Then we were told there were problems with the plane that had just come in that we were supposed to fly out on and were moved to another flight again.  At this point it was after 10.   After another 30min or so, American Airlines just announced that they were cancelling the flight.  It was absolute chaos and we were stranded in the airport overnight.  Hundreds of irate tired people were standing in lines trying to get booked on flights in the morning.  It was after 12:30am before I got through the line with a boarding pass, seat assignment, and vague assurances that the flight would fly out in the morning barring any mechanical issues or weather problems.  And then I was faced with the prospect of spending the night in the airport.  This was incredibly stressful for me because I’ve never even missed a connection before and didn’t know what to do.  The airlines staff weren’t helpful and I was scared, tired, and very stressed about getting back home.  It was especially annoying because I had wasted the whole day in airports when I could have had extra time with my family.

During the afternoon/evening when it became increasingly apparent that AA cannot reliably fly anywhere, I was frantically praying that God would work miracles and get me home that night.  Deep down, I felt Him nudging that maybe He had other plans and I shouldn’t be fixated on my comfort.  But I was – I wanted to go home, sleep, and go about the schedule I’d planned out for the week.  Being delayed, cancelled, and stranded was not on my to-do list.  We were in line to get our new travel arrangements made when the airline staff said we’d have to move to another desk so we all had to move and form a new line.  I was at the end of the new line, standing in between a single woman and a family with a college-aged daughter.  We made some small talk in line, basically trying to be supportive of each other while some of the passengers were getting out of control.  After we got our flights sorted, we got cots and decided to stay together.  The next few hours were nothing short of magical.  Complete strangers became friends.  We bunked down on the cots, got our phones/ipads charging, found blankets to snuggle into, and had grown-up sleep over.  (we couldn’t have a fire and roast marshmallows though). We shared stories, learned about each other, and enjoyed each others company so much.  One of the ladies and I ended up staying awake all night talking and becoming friends, sharing pictures and our lives with each other.  Though God didn’t get me home that night, he brought feelings of home to us and worked a miracle none-the-less. He brought strangers together and gave us fellowship.  A really stressful scary experience was transformed into a delightful party.  My friend had such a good attitude and showed me that an open spirit to accept what God brings is the way to travel through life.  When morning came, I was almost disappointed that it was time to go home.   But we both live here and we parted with hugs and the hopes of seeing each other again.

On the other side of the experience, I can look back and see God’s provision, although not in the way I expected.  It was a gentle way of learning to trust Him and a reminder that my focus should be on how to align my life to His will and not expect God to act always for my comfort.  He opened my eyes and my heart to see a world beyond my own wishes, to see people that He gave me an opportunity to meet and to be a blessing to.  And now, I wouldn’t have traded that experience for anything.  I’m safely home now and trying to get caught up on rest and things around the house for the upcoming week.  Today we had sun after several days of rain, and I caught some beautiful scenes in the garden.  So I will leave you with a few of those.  Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

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Blessings to you,
Sarah

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One Response to Gift #1022: Incompetent Airlines and the Kindness of Strangers

  1. Jamie Holtsclaw says:

    Beautiful! This brought tears to my eyes as I think of the times the God doesn’t “follow through” in the way I expect. You’re right: we’ve got to be open to Him and remember that He’s in charge, not us.

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