"Walk By Faith, Not By Sight" 2 Corinthians 5:7
Today’s Daily Prompt deals with being a “happy wanderer.” While metaphorically speaking, I like to apply this idea to my life and welcoming change (Pah! Even saying that makes me laugh!), I think of a time in which my travel experiences were not that happy at all.
Two years ago, I was given a trip to Baltimore, Maryland to visit my then-fiance (it didn’t work out) at his MOS school for the Marines. Completely in love with him, and romanticizing the moment of our reunion, my spring break could not come fast enough. It was going to be a short visit, considering that my break was only a week-long. I headed home late Friday evening, stuffing all of my belongings into an already crammed car that belonged to my friend. By the time I had gotten home, it was already after 8PM, and I still had to pack for Baltimore and buy a new duffel bag because mine had broken. I was already feeling irritable from a long day and drive, in which my friend talked of nothing else but Dr. Who for the whole 3 hour drive to Jacksonville (sorry Who-fans, but not really my thing). Feeling flustered, I had run into a friend at the local Publix where I was meeting my mom to go home. She could tell I was in a hurry, or so I thought, but I will return to that later.
After returning home, and packing, I had two hours of sleep before it was time for my big adventure. This was my first time ever traveling by myself on a plane, without having a chaperone for being a minor. It was exciting. I felt like such a “big-girl.” But, with such feelings, comes the act of responsibility and the likes.
Security in Jacksonville’s International Airport sucks. Period. I thought I would make it through quickly, but by the time I made it through, my plane was supposed to be leaving. I asked the security guard if they could call my gate, and they said they wouldn’t! I thought that typically speaking, people do that. All hope in humanity was lost right there, as I slipped my shoes and belt back on, adorning myself with the minimal amount of jewelry I was wearing. Thankfully, though, the weather was really foggy and so my plane hadn’t even arrived yet. I made it on, and was ready for the flight.
We arrived in Philadelphia for a layover. When I got in, I thought it was going to be an easy transition, but was told my flight to Baltimore was canceled due to massive amounts of tornadoes within the surrounding areas. I was put on to standby, which is understandable, as was the rest of the people on the cancelled flight. That’s when things started going a little crazy.
There was man dressed in a business suit, carrying a brief case to fit the look that was supposed to be on the cancelled flight. He was put on the standby list like everyone else, but wouldn’t have it. He began yelling at the flight attendants at the airport, his voice rising higher and higher as he became more frustrated. At one point, he snuck past the guards at the gate to board the plane, which is a security breach. When I saw that, my heart skipped a beat. What was so detrimental for this man to not wait his turn? Was he planning something? When you see something like that around high security, your pulse quickens, which mine did. Needless to say, a group of cops and a flight attendant pulled him off the plane and made sure that everything was okay, but with all his bickering and complaining was given priority on the standby list. Can you believe it? While the rest of us were waiting patiently, he was given the opportunity to leave though he was fighting against security.
Other flights were booked and I ended up waiting until the evening for a flight. I sat in an empty terminal, asking again and again the man at the check gate if the flight was still a-go. He could tell I was frazzled, and I still wonder if he knew it was my first time flying alone. I mean, I was stuck in a city I didn’t know, with no one I knew. The man at the check gate had a kind face, the face of a concerned father. He came and sat by me, asking me if I was okay. We got into a nice conversation, which now, as I reflect on this experience, was a sign from God. He was a Christian and had served int he Navy; he knew full-well what I was going through with the waiting and distance with my ex-fiance. By the time I boarded the plane, this man, who I will never get to converse with again, gave me a seat in first class. He not only helped me physically, but gave me comfort in a time of distress.
The flight from Philly to Baltimore was only 22 minutes with taking off and landing. It was frustrating to know that I was close enough to take a cab. I was supposed to be on base with Rafael by noon and by the time I made it, it was 10:30 at night! But, I did make it.
The rest of the trip was just as bad in terms of hotels on and off base, Rafael’s restricted visiting hours, and the limited time. But, as I write about this experience to you, I realize how blessed I was for the man with the kind face and heart. It was a moment in which I felt a melt down coming, God sent an angel. A friendly face in an unfriendly place. From reflecting on this, I realize too that it is more important to seek out the light in dark times and places. Though this was a trip I never really want to repeat again, I see that God was there all along. It might have taken me two years to realize this, but God is always with us, even in times of distress, frustration, and unfairness. I’m sure that the business man got to his place in time, but he probably didn’t experience his trip quite the way he wanted. I was given a temporary friend. My patience paid off, and God calmed the storm. He is always there.