A few weeks ago we were on our way to the airport for a late afternoon flight when we had a text that the flight was delayed about an hour. No problem. But as we arrived, the flight was delayed multiple times due to different reasons. Weather in another city. Waiting on a flight attendant from another flight. We started to see flights around us to our destination starting to cancel but we didn't know why. Time kept ticking down, our flight continued to be pushed out, the line for cancellations was growing to down the hallway. Finally, three hours past our regular flight time we received the news that our flight had also been cancelled.
Everyone rushed for the doors. John went to retrieve our car from the car park. Bailey and I went as fast as we could for baggage claim, where we were told it would be 2-3 hours to retrieve our checked bags. The line behind us for bags was growing steadily longer. Airport staff was minimal and already worn down. There was no where to sit so we found a spot on the floor. By this time, all the other cancelled flights had put us in a situation where the first chance we had out would be two days later, after Taylor's college graduation. We looked at other cities to fly into and out of. We had a friend with our airline attempt to help us book. We even looked into private flights.
It finally becomes the reality that we are facing a minimum 14 hour drive that is going to start after midnight. We abandon a piece of luggage that never surfaced after we hit the 3 hour wait mark. John pulls around with the car. And THEN the story really gets crazy - we are blocked behind a family (along with about 30+ other cars) that will not move for over half an hour while they take bags in and out, install a car seat, talk to one another - with literally not one ounce of hurry. When we tried to move traffic cones to go around them (attempted by others as well), the security officer on duty blew his whistle and said we couldn't do that.
By this point, I was just short of pulling out chunks of my hair. I. AM. READY. TO. GO.
Also, at this point, a piece of me just sank. I started to think it seemed VERY CLEAR we weren't supposed to have left Atlanta when we wanted to or even long beyond that. So many other little crazy things had happened at this point, there was just no choice but to know there wasn't a thing more I could do to help move us toward where we wanted to go.
I am an anxious person by nature, plus I literally have recurring dreams about anxiety inducing circumstances at airports. Even under normal circumstances, my heart rate spikes waiting to board the plane. I have to do breathing exercises and take other stress reducing measures. Once I am on, I am usually in good shape - but the "getting on" part is already hard for me. Add to that the past two years plus of events and trips being cancelled, missing important milestones, worrying about sickness and frankly about death - I was a powder keg combo feeling a complete loss of control.
I am not at all good at letting go. Elsa can sing about it all she wants in Frozen but frankly the metaphorical cold *did* bother me anyway. What to do?
Actress Goldie Hawn is quoted as saying, “If we can just let go and trust that things will work out they way they're supposed to, without trying to control the outcome, then we can begin to enjoy the moment more fully. The joy of the freedom it brings becomes more pleasurable than the experience itself.” I also try to believe in the verse from Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. But I can also admit defeat, a growing edge, a weariness in these days.
About 18 hours later we pulled into New York City. Beyond tired, feeling gross - but seeing that skyline felt like victory. We had a great trip - and a few days later made a 17 hour drive home. A little balance came along with some gifts of random kindness offered to us. Gratitude filled my heart for so many things, more than I can name.
I once told a friend a story to which she listened patiently and intentionally. She waited until I was finished and said quietly and firmly, "Perhaps God was saving you from something."
We may never know why we have disappointments, hurt, or cancelled planes. I don't subscribe to "everything happens for a reason," but I can hope that the picture is larger than I can see with my own eyes.
We do what we do with love in our hearts. Some days we are just doing the best we can. We are all a bit confused these days and need a little kindness. Travel troubles, and many other troubles in life, are understandably hard and frustrating. Every traveler has a story - where they were going and why. Just like in life.
The only thing I do know is we have to be kind. Please, be kind. Especially when we don't know what's going on. - Waymond Wang, Everything Everywhere All the Time