The last of the saga...
With a tearful goodbye and lots of waving from the little Livesays, I headed back into the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, printed my boarding pass, and essentially breezed through security. Couldn't help but wonder how much quicker it would all go if flying became a nudist activity. Then again, maybe buying the $2 water bottle inside the terminal isn't such a high price after all. But still, you gotta admit it would make profiling a lot easier. Those turbans would really stand out in the crowd. (No offense intended to anyone -a naked man wearing a cowboy hat would be equally funny just not as relative to the context.)
Tara and I had gotten an early start on Monday and I watched the news with great trepidation as they showed the satellite forecast. It would be a clear and beautiful day until severe thunderstorms and high winds moved into the area in the late afternoon. grrrrr. The sky was still clear blue when I entered the airport. I got some dinner and went to the terminal to relax. I was scheduled to leave at 6:50 ish. At 5:30 there was a flash of lightning, then another, and suddenly the heavens opened and the down pour began. It was at this point that the check-in attendants began "encouraging" everyone to move toward the center of the terminal and away from the large windows...just in case. Lord -pleeeaaase! Not again.
In an ironic twist of events, our flight was delayed and the storms had -for the most part, rolled on by when we began boarding the plane. I should mention now, that during the trip I had been reading the book "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day." Chapter 3: Unlearning Your Fears
It seemed that God was trying to prove a point with this one. The last sentence I read:
"Too many of us pray as if God's primary objective is to keep us from being scared. But the goal of life is not the elimination of fear." Followed shortly by "Maybe we need to quit praying safe prayers."
Since it's never been my nature to hide things from you all, my immediate prayer was..."Wow, God, that's good stuff. But seriously, now is not the time for me to stop praying to be safe." I don't think He expected any less from me since He knows me quite well. In addition to my refusal to let go of safety issues, I also had a moment of delusional selfishness. The plane was not full and I lucked out with a window seat and two empty seats beside me. I figured God was proud of how I overcame the need to vomit on the first flight and was cutting me some slack on this one. No need to feel added pressure of conversation. HA!
No sooner had the thought crossed my mind when a gentleman from the row behind said "Do you mind if I seat here since we have three in our row?" Okay, Lord. I'm an idiot. Of course, I welcomed him to join my row and it turned out to be a good move. We made small talk for a moment and something came up about the weather. I mentioned the torment of my previous flight and what do you know? He (Ken) was on that flight. There were actually a small handful of us on the same departing and returning flights. God is smarter than I am. Just for the record. The pilot came on the speaker to announce that we were experiencing a "mechanical malfunction" that should be fixed in 20-30 minutes. sigh. Time ticked by and after changing some computer parts which did nothing to repair the problem came the dreaded announcement -everybody off the plane to a new gate where we'll try again.
I learned a lot about Ken during the delay and was glad for someone to talk to and pass time with. We re-boarded the new plane. They were almost finished moving the luggage from one plane to another when the flight attendant noticed an unclaimed piece of luggage on a seat. "Does this bag belong to anyone?" she asked and no one responded. I was truly surprised that no one could hear the scream that was welling up inside of me. Ken looked over and said, "you know what this means, don't you?" I wanted to run shrieking up the center aisle " OF COURSE I KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS! IT MEANS I HAVE TO SPEND THE NIGHT IN THE FRICKIN' AIRPORT UNDER LOCK-DOWN BECAUSE SOME MORON FORGOT TO STICK HIS BAG IN THE OVERHEAD STORAGE BIN. AAAAAAAAHHHHH! By this time fear was no longer my worst opponent. Anger and fatigue were greater threats than possible terrorist activity. I am grateful that before I completely blew my testimony by losing my mind, the moron showed up and properly stowed his bag. At last, we were off. Only an hour and forty minutes behind schedule.
The flight started off bumpy but smoothed out in the long run. The coolest moment was when we broke through the top of the clouds and were looking down onto a mass of billowy white puffs illuminated by the brightest moon. It was breathtaking and surreal. God is so cool. Even when He doesn't follow my schedule. I gave Ken a tract and an invitation to our church since he doesn't live too far. Maybe he will pop in sometime.
My sweet husband was waiting at the bottom of the escalator, flowers in hand; looking only partially weary from the two hour wait. The house was spotless. I was impressed. And I figure since he did such a good job holding things together...I might as well use the $25 coupon from NWA to jet off again.