I’m sitting at a coffee shop enjoying people watching (perhaps most especially the barista who looks like Joseph Gordon Levitt – with a wit that won’t quit). This has nothing to do with my post today, I just felt like you should know what kind of distractions I’m working with.
Recently, one of the loveliest souls to ever walk this earth and one of my dearest friends was able to hook me up with buddy pass – and so I prepared to go on a trip, not knowing which plane at what time, but feeling hopeful. It was not an ideal time to be on a wait list, a Sunday during Spring Break Season, however, no one seemed to think it would take more than a day of waiting. So I set off before the sun to embark on this journey – feeling hopeful, albeit a little sleepy.
The first flight I was number 15 on the waitlist and the second flight I was number 9, so I was feeling pretty encouraged by this, thinking by the end of the day I will definitely get a flight at this rate. But the third flight I was number 25 out of 30! What happened!? Who were these people?! And how dare they!? But still feeling optimistic that there had been some mistake I could reconcile or that I could at least sweet talk my way up the list, I approached the service counter. The lady was obviously annoyed by my presence and after a bit of prodding and persistence on my end, told me that my guest pass was low priority.
Things only became worse as the day wore on, and my expectant hope with which I began the day, dwindled till it was barely perceptible by the last flight of the day. But I am nothing if not determined, and I held to my faith that I serve a God who is able to do what seems impossible for man, so I decided to try again the next day; which meant I had to decide if I wanted to find a ride home that night as well as a ride back to the airport, with little sleep (in my glorious bed) in between, or if I should crash at the airport. I went with the latter. Are you surprised?
I brushed my teeth and put on a few more layers of clothes, found a spot that was out of the way of traffic or obvious notice, with an outlet to charge my phone, and hunkered down for the night. The other airline was still making flights out and I began to wonder if the announcements would run all night long. And despite my cozy corner, two girls managed to hit me square in the butt with their roller suitcase as they passed by; causing me to shoot up wondering if I should fight or take flight (ironic) before realizing what had happened. (I still feel very confused as to how they managed to hit me at all). But eventually the other flights left and they announcements ended and I think I did get several stints of actual sleep before awaking to face a brand new day of waiting.
I was the first person in line for coffee – thank you Jesus – and hope burned a bit brighter than it had the night preceding. I slept through the boarding of the first flight, where none of the people on the waitlist made it on the flight. For that first flight, one finds oneself hoping people would miss their alarm – but apparently the world was on their a-game that day. By the fourth flight on Monday I was number 39 out of 60, and having already lived through a day of this I decided to admit defeat, and after thirty (30) hours at the airport, I boarded a bus and headed home. At this point I just felt relief, to be out of the airport, to smell fresh air, and to not be at the airport (airports are not designed to host people for such a long stretch). That night, I played tennis and got out some good aggression before sleeping for ten glorious hours in my dream of a bed.
But the moment my eyes opened the next morning sadness washed over me in waves. Later that morning, as I sat writing in my journal at my favorite café, the words were often blurred before me as I could not hold back tears as I retold the saga and processed all that had happened. I was also pretty angry with God for not coming through and doing what had seemed impossible. Let me just say, I signed up to be on a waitlist, I don’t feel wronged or jilted or entitled. And many people I spoke with on the waitlist with me were trying to get home to children, jobs, etc. One woman I spoke with was actually trying to make a job interview. My one claim – I waited more hours than any of them.
Are you waiting for a point – something deep and meaningful I learned in the midst of all this? Were you hoping this story ended with me on a plane somewhere and we could all praise God together for being so cool? (or if it ended that way, you would maybe feel a little embittered because God didn’t show up in your life like that) (am I the only one who does that?) The point, my friends, is that you don’t always get what you want… the point is that hope does not keep for long, it must be renewed, AND IT IS WORTH IT! even when it has failed you. The point is life is beautiful and hard. And the hardness of life can act like a blinder to the beauty, but you mustn’t let it. The point is, mostly I don’t know what the point is – there’s not really an answer to my why.
After I spent the morning feeling sad and crying a little bit, I made some lunch, did the dishes and drove a couple hours to go visit my family in my hometown. I had a beautiful week, I went to the zoo, I went to the beach (got a little sunburned), saw several people I love, ate good food, drank good drinks. And if I ever have a chance to fly on a waitlist again I will take it, because it’s cheaper and there’s a beautiful rush in entering the unknown and hoping at the end of the day you’ll fly.