Losing Control and Hoping for the Best
On Monday night, I was packing and getting ready to fly to Nashville to go through Dave Ramsey's Financial Coach Master Series. I've been excited about this trip for a few months. Everything seemed to be in order, but I felt this nagging anxiety about the trip and concluded it was because I was leaving my family behind at home and traveling out of state for the first time without them. I was excited about the training (which has been phenomenal, by the way) but I was sad that Kelsey had to carry the burden of parenting solo while I was away for four nights, and we were making a significant financial commitment to going through this process and I felt some pressure to make the most of the time away.
Needless to say, I tossed and turned most of the night, anxious and excited about getting to Nashville for the 2:00 pm start of the training. And my heart sank as I finally rolled out of bed at 4:45 am for my 7:00 am flight to find out the flight had been cancelled. And their suggested alternative got me into Nashville at 9:00 pm, meaning I would miss the entire first day of training. Gulp.
I don't want to bore you will all the details, but here is a highlight of events over the next few hours (then I'll explain what God taught me through all of it):
- The email I received said to call Expedia... so I did.
- Spent 10-15 minutes on the phone before handing it to Kelsey to wait and hold, so I could get in the shower and be ready to go (she was up anyway, I think she had a hard time sleeping, too).
- As I was showering, I was rushing because I knew when I was looking at flights that there was a similar flight with a different connection that left an hour earlier at 6:00 am and I was thinking they might try to get me on that flight.
- They did... It was 5:12 am when I pulled out of the garage to make the trek to the airport (20 minutes away).
- Arrived at the ticketing gate at 5:40 am.
- After what seemed like forever (probably only two minutes) they said I couldn't make the flight.
- Then they asked if I was checking a bag and I said no. They printed a boarding pass and said "RUN!"
- I ran and then hit the security checkpoint line.
- I pleaded with the handful of folks in line to let me through.
- They offered grace and did.
- I handed the boarding pass and my ID to the security check point guy who looks it over thoroughly.
- "Sir, the name on your boarding pass doesn't match your ID, you'll have to go back and get a new boarding ticket."
- Benjamin Williams... that's not me.
- Walk back down to the ticketing counter feeling defeated.
- Got a number to call for re-booking and talked to lady named Skylar.
- Skylar said she found a flight on another airline and would call them to book it... please hold.
- Back on the line, she tells me that she's still holding and that she was only allowed to hold for so long, and she would do so as long as she could, but after a certain point she would have to hang up.
- Sir, I'm still holding, but can only hold for a few more moments.
- Sir, I was able to book the flight! You will arrive in Nashville at 1:20 pm.
All that took place before 7:00 am on Tuesday. I had some time before my flight departed and was able to sit down and reflect on the whole situation. I was extremely grateful for those that I had come in contact with in those two hectic hours, and was left in awe and appreciation for those who work in the airline industry.
What a chaotic world they live in. Not to mention, everyone coming to the airport is trying to get somewhere for something important, and I'm not sure about you, but I don't just jump on a plane and fly somewhere without good reason. It's not like riding the carousel, which Rooney would do all day if she could.
(needed an excuse to share this picture...)
I'll also mention that this was the first time I've ever had a flight change on me (I don't fly a whole lot, and still feel lucky). And until it happens to you, I'm not sure you realize how humbling it is.
It's humbling when you have no control over the situation, other than how you react to it. And this, I'm sure, is what God was teaching me. I could have exploded with furry on everyone I came in contact with, and since I wasn't the only one who wanted to be on that original flight, I was able to see how a handful of others reacted as well.
We had a common purpose of getting somewhere and it had been taken away from us. Some handled it well, others not so much.
From the moment I read the email, I started praying for God to provide a way for me to be in Nashville by 2:00 pm. There was no time to whine, complain, throw a fit... it was very much a "take one very small step at a time" thing.
I prayed for green lights, that time would stand still, that I could make the 6:00 am flight, that I would remain calm and know that God is good in all things, for another way, and for the other airline to pick up the phone while I was on hold.
I'm not saying that God always answers prayers in the way he did for me. I know sometimes things don't work out in the scenario or in any others, but I also know that God provides opportunities for us to grow as his children. I believe this was a time for growth. God wanted to see how I would handle being completely dependent on others.
No matter the amount of planning that I had done for the trip or ducks that I put into rows, it was all thrown up in the air from the moment I woke up on Tuesday morning. Humbling for sure.
I'm so very grateful for the trials of the day because it drew me closer to God and gave me a great story to tell.
And as I was sitting at the terminal gate waiting to board my flight, I got a phone call from my friend Philip. We typically get together weekly as accountability partners, but he's been visiting India for the past few weeks and we haven't been able to meet. He was on his way back and called. A divine call, I'm sure of it.
I needed him in that moment. I needed to know I wasn't alone on this trip nor this journey of life. Kelsey was busy getting herself and Rooney ready for the day, and we had been texting back and forth, but the phone call was special. Philip heard the story and prayed for my trip before boarding. It was so great to talk with a friend in that moment.
On the flight (which was not part of the original plan) I was able to sit next to and get to know a woman and she asked where I was headed and what I was doing, and we had a great conversation about personal finances. It was great! And I never would have met her if my original flight hadn't been cancelled.
And I knew flying in at 1:20 pm for a 2 pm training start time that I would be cutting it close. So when I arrived at the conference center at 1:57 pm, I had a sigh of relief, an attitude of gratitude, and a humbled heart. God is good.
Have you ever had a flight changed or canceled? What's God teaching you lately?