It’s time for another blog post. I know I missed last week in the flurry of wrapping up the launch/dedication of my ministry (CREW 40:4) and preparing for this trip to Bangalore and the UK. I decided to just let it pass rather than posting it late. Hope that didn’t bother anyone too much, especially after my big talk about consistency! Well, I’m still somewhere on the learning curve so please bear with me J.
It’s amazing how after many experiences where God shows up with His usual faithful self I still find myself doubting, but it happens. Sometimes it’s as if you just can’t help yourself. So anyhow, here’s the story…
Somehow I just couldn’t get myself settled for this trip to Bangalore. I just had this nervous, anxious feeling in my stomach. Coming into New York was crazy. Road works caused us to take two hours to make the half an hour trip from the airport. So when the person who was taking me to the airport for this part of the trip said he’d pick me up at 6:30 I was a little disturbed and said I’d prefer 6:00. We struck a compromise with 6:15. I was still very nervous. In fact, I was so nervous that I wasn’t quite ready when he came! I was doing that spinning around thing that you do when you’re in panic mode! So we left at about 6:30 by the time we had got the luggage into the vehicle.
Traffic. Lots of it. Luckily my designated driver knew what to do but it still took us almost twice as long as it should have. Not to worry though, since I was still there two and a half hours before departure time, right? Ha! We looked through the glass and saw what looked like a million people … well at LEAST half a million … in the terminal waiting to be processed. Then, first ominous sign, as I we took my roller bag from the vehicle one side of the pulley handle broke. Wonderful!
I hurried inside as best as I could with the injured bag, found a check-in kiosk, and tried to print my boarding pass. Failed! I took my place in the ‘line’ (it was really much more than a line. ‘Line’ does not begin to define that monster of a snake!) After about 20 minutes I had it figured out. At the rate at which we were moving, it would take me two hours and twenty minutes to get to the counter. Of course, my flight would be gone by then!
I was encouraged when at one point an agent came through and pulled out people who had a flight leaving at 8:40. Mine was scheduled for 9:55. I figured they wouldn’t let the flight leave without me then. The agent would come back and pull me (and the others who were on my flight) just in time and I would be processed with enough time to spare to catch my flight. I watched and waited. The agent never came back. Well, eventually he did, but only pulled those who already had boarding passes! You will recall I was unable to print mine, so I had to stay in the line. By this time, though, I was almost at the front so I was extremely hopeful.
Then I finally get to the agent. She looks at my flight information and says “You’re not going to make this flight.” I was about to protest when she added “Even if you make it your bags won’t!” No more protest from me. I was not about to leave my bags behind. I’ve had too much bag drama in my short life already!
So I say to her “Can you put me on the next flight?”
Says she: “I can’t do that. You’ll have to go around the corner to ticketing.”
The way she was treating me one would have thought it was my fault they didn’t have enough personnel to handle the massive number of persons coming through the terminal! (Not good British Airways!!)
Anyway I grab my bags and dash around the corner. One more line. Granted, not as daunting as the one I was just in, but on close examination, this line was almost not moving at all! I now realize that it will take a miracle to get me on the next flight, which would be the last flight for the day, which would mean that I would miss my connecting flight from London to Bangalore. Not acceptable!
You will remember that I was feeling inexplicably nervous and anxious about this trip. Now it was beginning to unfold. I tried to relax, but found it extremely difficult. I tried to remind myself that God was in charge. Yes, I knew this in my head but my body was not adjusting itself to the knowledge. I prayed. I tried to submit myself to whatever the outcome would be. Not having any means of communicating with anyone outside the airport was not helpful. I had visions of me sleeping in the airport, waiting for the next flight out. I had visions of me having to forfeit the ticket. I had visions … all kinds of thoughts were just swirling through my head, none of them very pleasant!
I glanced to my right and saw the check-in area for the first and business class passengers. It was empty, but there was an agent at one of the desks. I plucked up courage in my desperation and went over to her. I explained my situation. She made a call. Next thing I knew she was telling me she had me on standby for the next flight! “How many bags?” “Two” I told her. By this time I had decided I couldn’t manage the injured hand luggage. Furthermore there was a sign that said I should be able to place the bag unaided into the overhead bin. I knew I couldn’t do that, and probably shouldn’t, given that I’m still on the tail end of recovery mode after major surgery. The lady at the first counter had told me it would cost $60 for the extra bag, so I took out my purse. There was no need! She didn’t charge me a cent!
I was in shock and disbelief as I headed for the gate. How did that happen? I felt a bit guilty leaving all the others behind who had also missed the flight, but I didn’t look back. I was recognizing favour! I ran to the security checkpoint. No use running because of course there’s a line. It was time for boarding. I almost got agitated when my heart finally recognized the situation – THIS WAS A SITUATION OVER WHICH I HAD ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL ! In situations like these, the modus operandi is to pray, and then go to sleep while God works! This is what has worked for me in the past. God always shows up! (I recall the time I had to travel from Kingston to Montego Bay on a very small plane. I was very uncomfortable about that, and what worked for me was to quote this verse: “He will keep in perfect peace he whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in Him.” (Isaiah 26:3) I promptly fell asleep and didn’t awake until we were landing in Montego Bay safe and sound!)
So I get to the gate and all the people are waiting. Boarding has not yet begun. The gate area is crowded. I go to the counter and identify myself. They tell me to have a seat but it looks doubtful because there are only 4 extra jump seats (whatever those are)and those were already assigned.
They started boarding the plane. No sooner had I sat down in the crowded departure area, envisioning myself spending the night in New York and trying to figure out how to get to Bangalore, than I heard them paging me! They called me through the line of people boarding, handed me my boarding pass, made a call to I don’t know who, confirming my seat on the plane – 25A – and the next thing I knew I was sitting in a premier seat on the plane (more leg room, socks, and those cushy earphones they don’t give to the people in the back of the plane!), wondering how the dickance did that happen!! The tears came. I knew I didn’t deserve this because my faith had been so weak. But then I also knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that this was not about me. This was God doing what He had to do to fulfill His purpose! This was also God doing what only He could do and confirming His presence with me on this trip!
So there you have it! One more Godincidence for my collection! If you have any similar stories feel free to share them! I also invite you to share what lessons you learned from this episode. You never know how your story may encourage someone else!