I am back guys. FINALLY. I have been trying to get back to Dallas for two days. Note to self: Never ride standby during the holidays.
I waited literally all day yesterday for a flight only to be continuously bumped to the next flight until a merciful friend picked me up from the airport for a brief reprieve. During this time, I went to a movie, ate a real meal, and slept like a baby on the most comfortable sofa in the world.
But I digress.
This morning back to the endless waiting. Do you realize how much of a disappointment it is to be the next in line to get called onto a plane only to hear the words, "Sorry flight #12345 is now FULL." ARGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!
I was so down and out. That's when the little voice on my shoulder said, "You are never leaving Chicago. You are gonna be waiting for days." I call this voice Doubt. Doubt's little voice had grown considerably over the past few months. Then a little voice on the opposite side says, "Well, if you are waiting here, it must be for a reason. Because we are God's children and God only wants the best for us." I call this voice, uh, I don't remember the lady's name.
Let me regress.
I was feeling down and out. Wondering if I should leave and go to another airline to pay an outrageous fee to get home today. That's when a woman who had also been shuffled around walked up to me and says, "Happy New Year," and sits down. She offers me cookies and then starts talking. From the moment she starts talking I know that she is a Christian. She is so darn light-hearted and happy-go-lucky when the older lady who sits on my opposite is so down in the dumps. Mind you, we (me, Happy, and Grumpy) had just missed a flight and had a gate change. So after we trekked over to the next gate. This woman finds me again. The three of us start talking again only to be joined by another Negative Nelly. Only this woman curses and has a bad Mary J Blige blond do. In the midst of my doubting and these women complaints, the Cheery Christian says, "I am not worried, I prayed for favor today." And just like that I remembered how I used to be. I used to be that Christian encouraging others, always praying, the one people came to for advice, even strangers. Somewhere along this boulevard called Life, I had become a bitter character always doubting and complaining.
And what did I really have to complain about. I spent the holidays with my family. My mom is alive and well and so is my sister. These two, a few years ago, had been in and out of the hospital alternately. A few years before that my father had passed away. Through it all, I had kept my faith. It is easy to keep the faith when the turbulence is outside of you, meaning happening to someone else. Moving here to Texas and hitting turbulence on the job front, being financially strapped, and without a supportive Christian network, I, too, had become bitter and disenchanted. I needed someone to encourage me, but it is difficult to seek that kind of help when you are so used to being the strong one. I had been feeling like my prayers were falling on death ears so I stopped praying.
I look up at the monitor. What do you know? The Cheery Christian is number one on the standby list for the 1:25pm flight. The same one the agent had said was hopelessly overbooked. The same one the agent had requested some passengers voluntarily give up their seats for a free later flight and a $300 travel voucher.
Just like that her name is called. Next flight 2:25pm.
So, I am feeling pretty encouraged, just gonna wait until my time comes when, Mary J finds me and starts in with her usual whining and complaining. She has the brilliant idea of buying a ticket at another airport and having her friends pick her up because she was tired of waiting. No excuse me, let me quote her, "This don't make no damn sense."
The agent now exclaims that the 2:25pm flight is full and we should trek over to yet another gate. The crowd clears and it's me, the agents, and Mary J. I get on my cell to call to see how many flyer's miles I have to lower the price of the ticket I am contemplating buying when one of the agents comes back from the plane and starts calling names. I am literally standing at the agent's desk, listening to the voice response operator ask me to press one for English when Mary J says, "Humph, you might get on this one."
I press one. Afterall, I am number 19 on the list of standbys. I have been disappointed before.
She is calling names and no one is responding. I see a glimmer of hope. The operator exclaims, "If you would like to redeem your reward points press two."
She reads three more names. I press two.
Two more names. I hang up. Feeling giddy I ask, Have you called ***insert my last name***? She says, "I'm about to call ***insert my last name***in a minute."
She says, ***insert my last name***," but I can't hear because Mary J blond hair is standing in the way. So I ask if she had called me. She says yes and hands me the pass. I run like I just been told to "come on down, you are the next contestant on the Price Is Right."
I am running and thanking all the agents along the way. I make it to the airplane door and I hear the agent state, "I am gonna shut the door once this lady gets on." I say, "thank you and God bless you." Surprised she says, "God bless you, too."
I was so happy, you could have sworn announcer Rod Roddy had told me I had just won a new car.
Just like my angel before, God sent me an inspiring word from a stranger and I know now what has been bugging me. I need a church home. Regular worship is strengthening, without it, I had become weak and passive. Also this encounter answered a question I had about places of worship. I had gone to a church and felt a real spiritual connection, the only problem, the church only had two other black people there. Well, the Cheery Christian is a white woman. She spoke with such Godly authority, like the women I have known from my previous church experiences. Somewhere between her cheery disposition and my cantankerous attitude she managed to lift my spirits. So, I think I will pay that church another visit.