Image is from Thomas Leuthard via Flickr
Life had gotten a little too chaotic — running here, hurrying there. Two hours early, I was leaving for a business trip and found myself delayed at the airport for no apparent reason: no weather or mechanical issues. I decided to make the most of the time and worked on a project I’d brought along. The delay forced me to miss a connecting flight, and more waiting became my reality.
As an optimist-realist, I try diligently to find the silver lining in every cloud. So my airport stint found me searching desperately for some silver somewhere. There was a good chance I could get a standby seat on a flight that would only make me four hours late to my destination. I set my heart to hope for that. And then that flight was completely full, with no standby spots available. I found myself waiting again, and looking at a 10:45 p.m. arrival time, another three hours later. I wasn’t happy.
And then I noticed the airline was paying generous vouchers to passengers willing to take my later flight, because they had overbooked the current one. One woman’s comment just about sent me to the moon. “Well, I’ll be a little later and more tired that way, but it’s worth it with this ticket.” What made it worth it for me? I was forced to take the later flight, for no apparent reason, and certainly with no free flight voucher waiting for me (I asked). I had finished all the projects I’d brought along. I was fatigued from doing virtually nothing and so tired of waiting. And I was more than angry. I knew I needed an attitude intervention as soon as possible.
I dragged my overfilled carry-on bag down the concourse without a destination in mind. I’d already been in every shop and had scoped out the contents of every restaurant. As I prepared to venture down yet another concourse to distract me, I saw it: a sign for the airport chapel. I knew what I needed to do.
I weaved my way to to the tiny airport chapel and sunk into a chair. Sitting there reminded me to worship, and I plugged my earbuds into my phone and closed my eyes. As the music began, I was reminded that God is good and faithful. And the tears began to fall. I took a few deep breaths and began to consider that this situation could be a divine delay. Though I could see no apparent reason, the waiting might be meant for some reason I could not see. Or maybe it was a gift to me.
Sometimes life gets so busy in my world that it seems as though every waking moment is scheduled, with little downtime for rest. And sometimes I am reminded of Psalms 23:2-3 that says, “God makes me lie down in green pastures” and “he restores my soul.” I decided it would be wise to take the hint.
So after just a few minutes in the suddenly-empty airport chapel, I made my way back to my gate with a different attitude. I wouldn’t miss anything crucial. Nobody was going to suffer for my tardiness. It wasn’t the end of the world. And I could choose to rest in my forced delay and make the most of it. So I took a photo of the empty airline jetway and posted to Instagram: “He makes me lie down in green pastures… he restores my soul. #stillwaiting #attitudetest #gratefulforworship”