It’s Tuesday, and I’m sitting in the airport as I write. The guy across from me keeps looking over at me every time I pause in my writing. I promise I’m not writing about you, I try to communicate with my eyes. Well not really.
The past forty-eight hours have blended together. Me, sitting at the airport, hoping to get back to New York and back to the routine of life.
My flight was originally scheduled for Sunday and was delayed and delayed until eventually completely cancelled. I re-booked for a flight this morning, only to see it was cancelled when I woke up. That means I am waiting and sitting around a lot. I am doing what I can with my job. I was able to work remotely all day yesterday and that was helpful. My coworkers are wonderful. Most of all, I’m so glad I was able to spend the weekend away with my family. It was truly special, and I’m beyond grateful I could be there.
Except today I am tired, and I am bored. I feel restless after sitting in terminals and staring at suitcases.
Clearly my last two days were meant to look differently than I anticipated.
Flight delays and severe weather are a very tangible (and often occurring) reminder that I am not in control. I cannot calm the storms. I cannot clear the runways or streets. I cannot do anything to make this plane take off. All I can do is be.
I think God is saying, Hey, Mags, I got this. You just leave it to me.
He is the one navigating my journey.
I write this from the airport, unsure of exactly when I’ll get out of here. I snagged one of those cushy leather chairs with a cup-holder in the armrest, and I have ample leg room since I’m not sitting on the plane. So there’s that.
In my previous post, I wrote about bad habits of mine that I continue to go back to. Just a few days ago, I was explaining how one of my bad habits is planning. Yes, planning. I strategize. I schedule. I plot. I do what I want to do. I planned to fly into New York City on Sunday evening. I was going to pick up a few groceries, order takeout, do laundry, and go to work Monday morning bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I might have hit up a yoga class after work and then I’d be drinking wine and watching “The Bachelor” with girlfriends.
Obviously that did not happen. (Although my sweet golden retriever provided excellent company for Ben Higgins and me.)
I glance up at my flight information at the gate. I am delayed. Again. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s two cancellations and countless delays. My body is getting tense. I feel my shoulders creeping up, my jaw clenching. I am angry, frustrated, and stir crazy. I am ready to get out of Le Club de Airport and back to reality.
I breathe in. I breathe out. In. Out.
I am not in charge here. My to-do list is not getting tackled today. I am sitting in the airport alone, while the man with the salt-and-pepper hair and goatee next to me talks to someone named Brenda about Heath bars and how he’d like to go to Mexico right about now. You and me both, dude. You and me both.
But for now, we’re at the airport. Plans shattered, calendars completely moot.
Why does that bother me so much? Why do I cling to my calendar, my goals, my plans? Why does that unexpected almost always produced expected distress?
I think it comes down to security. I want security, comfort, and happiness. If my goals are accomplished, if my plans come to fruition, I am happy. Right? Isn’t that how it works? The life plan is engineered to secure happiness and fulfillment.
I stroll (as much as one can stroll while wearing a down jacket and carrying a duffel bag and overpacked purse) to the airport bookstore. The most prominent shelves are lined with books on success, power, happiness, fulfillment. The bestseller list is generally a pretty good indicator of what we humans as a whole are concerned with—ever notice that? I like the security and comfort that comes from taking matters into my own hands and making plans for myself. Judging by these hardcover bestselling tomes, I’d say I am not alone.
“'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord.”
I keep hearing that as I write.
“Plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
I’d rather boast about tomorrow than rest in that truth. I’ll tell you about my plans and my schedule—and then they can be completely erased in a mere moment. They don’t provide security. Not really. They feel safe, stable, comforting until a snowstorm blows them away—and I am reminded of the insignificance of my worldly plans.
In its own way, that’s comforting. More comforting is knowing there’s one thing constant and stable through it all.
I’ve written in my testimony how God’s hand of protection has been on me my whole life—through hospital visits, through broken relationships, through multiple moves and a layoff and a job change. His hand is on us during the big stuff. Why would it be any different for our ordinary day-to-day lives?
I can tell you that God cares about the minutiae of our lives. He really does. Even when your flight is cancelled and you're alone at the airport, He's there and He cares. I may not believe this all the time, but it's one of the things I am certain to be true.
No matter where you're at right now—in the airport, on the train, or sitting in your bed after a really long, really hard day—
God is right there with you.
This is know.
I suddenly hear a muffled sound come over the loudspeaker at my gate. A young flight attendant’s soft voice grows loud and clear:
“Those flying to New York, please return to your gate. Your aircraft is here and will begin boarding shortly.”