How to Miss a Flight, be a Selfish Prick, and Find God at the Airport.

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“Life is diving in heart first.”

Those are the words I read on my pumpkin chai latte, as I screeched into the rickety chair at a little Mexican joint inside the Denver International Airport.

Out of breath and exhausted from two thousand stairs and three hundred  escalators, I plopped my two little bags down and breathed.

Deep, heavy breaths.

Breaths that I had been holding in for days, and had not allowed to escape my body, all the way to the airport.

I had had just enough time. And then my beautiful 5 year-old daughter decided to cut her hair right before I left. Not a big deal, except that she had butchered it. Chopped it all off. Six inches of perfectly gorgeous blonde hair.

She came, sad face, and holding the chunks in her hands.

I stood there for a minute and looked at her distress, and then in a fake calm voice, I told her “its OK, hunny, we can fix it. And you still look beautiful.”

I had to go. My flight was leaving in two n a half hours, and I had just enough time.

I gave her one more quick hug, and then passed her off to my husband who was just waking up, still drowsy from eye surgery the day before. Baby boy was back in bed, after trailing me around since 5:30. And I was still relatively calm, when I pulled out of the driveway and headed South to DIA.

Traffic was beautiful, and I got to the airport 80 minutes before my flight to Nashville was scheduled to leave. “Perfect,” I thought, as I whizzed into Terminal East to find a parking spot.

I drove up and down and back and forth the rows, but there was no space. I looked everywhere and even considered parking up on the grassy hillside. NONE. 15 hours, I mean minutes went by and still I had no place to park. It seemed odd. I had been to this terminal a hundred times before and I could ALWAYS find a spot.

Not this time!

Finally I decided to try another lot. I looked at the parking garage to my left and rapidly drove my car in its direction. There was a gate that seemed like it should go there. So I pulled up to grab a ticket, but there was no ticket. Only buttons and numbers. Who knew I needed a code??!!  I tried to back out, but there was someone behind me.

At long last, I got outta there and circled around to try and find the RIGHT entrance for the garage. Instead I ended up by departures, and saw the sign for Terminal West. I thought perhaps I could park there. It would just be a REALLY LONG walk, but hey.

Time was running out.

I weasled my way West, weaving through traffic, dodging in and out of construction like a competent woman, and made it to Terminal West, right before reading the sign that said it was CLOSED.

So I circled again.

And again.

And again.

Until finally, I found a place to park in the back of the back forty, so I threw the keys in my purse, and ran like mad, toward the terminal.

Suitcase wobbling. Heart pounding.

Perhaps I could still make it.

I burst through the doors like I’m the only passenger needing to be somewhere, but nope. There is a line, exactly one mile long, filled with other anxious passengers, and so I begin to heave and flail, hoping that SOMEONE will notice that I really do need to be  somewhere.

Because I do.

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And don’t they know I need to be there by the next morning to help at a Single Moms Event? Um, ALSO, for the three whole days of singing and songwriting I was going to do with my Sis, when I’m there???

No. They don’t care.

Eventually I give in and take my place at the end of the mile-long line, and glance at the clock on my phone.

It’s now 9:35.

I have exactly 25 minutes left, when I get to the ticketing counter. The lady checks me in, scribbles a few numbers on my ticket, and I run, this time like Forest Gump, toward security.

Up the ramp, down the stairs, through the caution tape and the broke down escalator, cutting off Moms with babies and elderly people as I go, til at last I come, puffing and sighing, to the guy staring at me from behind thick brown glasses and a pile of boarding passes. He shouts orders, and demands mine.

I reach into my purse and that’s when I realize I don’t have it.

I don’t have my boarding pass!

I mutter under my breath and stomp off, back to check-in. But I’m out of time!

It only took a few minutes to get through security, but I didn’t make it. I got to my gate just as the plane was pulling out onto the runway. And needless to say, I was mad! Mad that after ALL THAT, I had missed my flight. Mad that there was NO parking. And mad that NO ONE had cared about it.

I took my two little bags and found a quiet corner where I promptly called and cussed and cried to my husband.

He reminded me that there is a reason for everything.

I wasn’t hearing it.

I didn’t wanna hear what my heart already knew, because my head was messing with me!

“This matters and you just missed it.” 

 “There goes your opportunity!”

(As if I’d never get another flight, or another chance to do what I was going to do!)

It continued…

“You suck, you can’t even make your flight, even when you get there in plenty of time.”

Its amazing how quickly you can go there, when you’re listening to your brain, and NOT your heart.

It wasn’t until several hours later, after I had woofed down my veggie tacos at the Mexican joint, and I was standing at another gate waiting for the next flight, which subsequently was fully booked, that I finally had an epiphany.

I had barely breathed the words, “Lord, please let someone miss their fligh-” when it dawned on me.

That could have been someone else’s words, earlier, when I missed mine!

Me missing my flight could have been the answer to someone else’s prayer! Someone may have had something just as important or even more than my being at a Single Moms event, or having three WHOLE days with my Sister.

I finally realized that it wasn’t about me. (I know. GRAND, right?!)

That whatever the reasons were that I had circled the perimeter of the airport that morning, it probably wasn’t about me or where I was going. (light bulb moment, helllooo)

You see, there’s room for all of us, on this ride. There is time for ALL OF US, in this life. There’s room for you to get where you need to go and there’s room for me.

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I made it to Nashville, four hours later, with nothing lost, except perhaps a little pride, a little ego. But I had gained perspective. I had gone a little deeper into my heart, and my human connection with the world.

I had found God in a way that I would not have, had it not happened or had I stayed mad about it.

And for that, I’m glad it happened.

Will I leave a little earlier next time? Um, yes! And will I try just as hard to make it? Heck, yeah. Chances are I will run and drive in circles at the airport, again. I might even forget to grab my boarding pass, again.

But I will look back on this day and remember its lessons. I hope I breathe, and listen to my heart a little sooner. Because everything does happen for a reason.

Sometimes the reason just isn’t about me.

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