It all began at 530am and concluded 20 hours later.
Today was a day that will live in infamy. Maybe not on Fox News but undoubtably in my mind and my kids memory.
Today is Christmas Day. And it's a day I was suppose to catch an early flight out of town to meet them at grandmas house in Orlando for the week.
This day couldn't have come soon enough. The kids have been counting down the days until I get to join them!
The journey leading up to this point has been filled with anticipation. And in an instant, one bout of sobering news brought me crashing back to reality.
Long lines at security and one missed plane.
Than another. Standby.
There's no room on the plane.
But I have people to see. A place to be.
And yet, none of those things matter. Try as I may, I am not the orchestrator of my outcome today.
As much as I'd like to think it, I am not conducting this symphony.
Strangely enough it's like a scene from home alone flashing in front of my face. Give me a flight anywhere so that I can end up where I am going. Except this time it's not separated by a tv screen. It is my reality.
So many questions. Like where in the USA is my suitcase? And why didn't I curb check the dumb thing to cut 20 minutes out of my check in process? Or how can I finagle a flight somewhere within some drivable distance of my destination?
I now understand what that must have felt like for Mary and Joseph. "No room in the inn."
How easy it must have been to feel deflated. To experience a sense of let down.
And yet I choose this day to hold on to hope. To not let go. If I learned anything from that first Christmas it's that nothing good comes without a cost. Without adversity and obstacle.
I don't yet know what that outcome will be but I choose to keep my head up and hold on.
Somethings bound to happen.
So as I watch pleadingly as people pile on the plane, I approached the counter once more and I pleaded with the ticketing agent to check for anything once more.
He said "I've checked them all and everything is overbooked. Atlanta, memphis, even Phoenix and Seattle."
I said "can you just check once more?"
He responded "hold up.... Where did this come from?"
"Did you just pull a rabbit out of a hat!?!" I asked.
He cracked a smile as he printed me two boarding passes with confirmed seats for a connecting flight through Atlanta. Msp to Atlanta. Atlanta to Orlando.
He said dumfounded, "I have no idea where that came from. Or how this is possible".
I said "I know how it happened."
This seemed to become a pattern for me on this day because it would not be the only time that there was no room on the plane.
My first flight (now to Atlanta) was delayed. Not a big deal except that I only had a 35 minute layover. In most airports, that's doable. But in Atlanta?! It's nearly impossible.
I landed with 15 minutes to takeoff. And the moment we landed, I ran. I hopped on the tram and arrived at the next concourse, followed by more running. Only to arrive at the gate and hear the same news I had heard at 7 am. We just closed the door and the plane is off.
So off to the ticketing counter I went.
"Can I help you?" She asked.
"I just missed my flight to Orlando. Can I get on one of the last two tonight?"
"I'm sorry but they're both full. There are no open seats. In fact, they're overbooked. How about we try another Florida airport?"
So we tried them all. All over booked and sold out.
"Can you just try it once more?" I asked.
She humored me, certain of what she would find.
"What's this!!!??" She exclaimed. "It just appeared from nowhere. There is one seat open on the 9:59 flight."
"Thank you Jesus!" I blurted out.
And to top off God's sense of adventure and humor, it was a first class ticket.
12 hours later than I had planned, I will arrive at my destination.
But this day has been far from wasted.
Hope does not disappoint. Hold onto it. Tightly.
Regardless if your ticketing agent pulls the rabbit out of the hat or not.
The hope we possess transcends the ups and downs of this carnal life.
Thank you Jesus for the reminder on this day of all days to hold on. This Christmas Day will forever be a reminder to me that God is deserving of our trust. Always. And He always comes through; and it almost always looks nothing like we could have planned.
Merry christmas to all. And to all a good night.