I guess I should have known what kind of trip it was going to be when I forgot my underwear. Not just a pair or two, mind you, but the whole supply. I had everything else with me: shirts, shorts, pants, swimsuit, socks, etc. and somehow I managed to forget my underwear.
My forgetfulness was followed up with an extra lengthy drive that would normally take about six and a half hours lengthened to ten hours. Thankfully, the kids behaved and the traffic wasn’t due to major accidents, just congestion.
A pleasant shuttle driver made the trip to one of the busiest airports in the country fairly innocuous. We arrived a considerable time before our flight, made it through security with little incident, and hunkered down to wait the nearly six hours until our flight.
That’s when we found out that the thunderstorms we’d been hearing about in the New York City area were forecast for right around the time of our departure. Before a rain drop could even leave the sky, our flight was delayed an hour. The hour delay became two which became about two and a half and it stayed that way until we were finally on our plane, taxiing to the runway.
And then we were off on our coast to coast trip.
Well, the excitement would just continue. Rolling into the airport about 3 or 4 hours after our original scheduled arrival, discovering my wife’s brand new bag was destroyed by a careless passenger’s baby oil leaking all over, arriving at the rental car place to discover that “we’ll track your plane’s progress and wait until it arrives” is just a statement of empty words
When we rolled into our hotel room at 4AM Pacific Time, I think we may have both retorted in stereo that we would not plan on traveling again for a very long time, at least not by air. But time always has a way of changing your mind but also bringing some clarity and perspective that seems quite elusive in the midst of the storm.
The next day, we made our way back to the airport to pick up a rental car, thanks to the kindness of someone who was part of the conference we were at. As we rolled out of the parking lot, I noticed the air pressure on the rear tire was low, which seemed odd considering we had just picked up the car.
We drove it back, left it with a woman who said she’d have it back in ten minutes. Ten minutes turned to twenty minutes. Twenty minutes turned to thirty minutes, and I began to panic. Had someone stolen our rental car? Did I just get hustled? I had images of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” running through my mind when the parking attendant took Cameron’s dad’s Ferrari on a joy ride.
As I frantically asked multiple employees about the whereabouts of my car, the car came around the car. The young woman got out and reported that there had been a nail in the tire. Wow!
My wife and I put our heads together and prayed. We’d had enough. My energy was shot. My nerves were shot. I just wanted to go somewhere other than the conference I had come out to California to attend.
On day three, we experienced a neat God sighting when I realized that a woman to whom my wife had introduced me was from a church that had given me a scholarship while in seminary. That made my day, and maybe even the whole trip. If nothing else had happened that was encouraging that week, I think it would have all been worth it just to see this man and woman’s faces light up when they discovered that their little church had helped me out financially during seminary.
It was sure a lesson to me. I think the more obstacles I hit on the way to something, the more encouragement I should expect once I get there. It’s hard to keep that in mind, but I’m trying my best.
I’m flying to Cincinnati next month, and hoping that it’s an uneventful trip! But if it’s not, I guess I can expect great things!