I arrived at the airport in plenty of time for my 12:30 flight to Ohio on Sunday, December 3rd.
Relaxed. Slow moving. Anticipating a wonderful week of stillness.
I headed to the check-in counter and found out that there was no flight to Ohio at 12:30. I pulled out my confirmation papers and handed them to the nice man. “He must be new,” I thought to myself. Be patient.
“I’m sorry but that flight was changed on September 2nd. You would have received notification regarding the change.”
I quickly called my husband and both of us agreed that neither of us received any notification.
“Well, there isn’t a flight until 8:00 tonight, ma’am…and it’s full. I can put you on standby for that flight if you would like.”
I wasn’t sure what to do. Standby for a late flight that was full didn’t sound very promising. The original plan was that I would be arriving in Columbus, Ohio in the early afternoon, meeting up with two friends and sharing an UBER car expense to our final destination, which was a little over an hour’s drive. Our Spiritual Direction program was beginning at 5:00 pm.
Well, that all changed.
Someone suggested that I talk to Air Canada Customer service so I ran over to the counter, only to find about 50 people in line. I could feel the anxiety rising. I stood in line and suddenly, I heard my name being called over the PA system. All I heard was, “Diane Lindstrom….blah,blah, blah, blah..”(the muffled sound reminded me of Charlie Brown’s teacher) so I pulled out of the line and shamelessly headed straight to the front counter. You can imagine the disgusting looks that I received from the people in line.
“Excuse me – I’m so sorry but I just heard my name over the announcements and I..”
“Please go the end of the line, ma’am.”
“But I just wanted to know..”
“We didn’t call you, ma’am and we’re very busy. Go to the end of the line.”
I didn’t feel like I had any choice but to obey this angry-voiced, commanding woman. I had since lost my original place in line and as I stood behind a multitude of frustrated, impatient customers, I sensed a strong vibe of, “You got what you deserved, lady” radiating from everyone waiting to be served.
It felt horrible.
After waiting 40 minutes, I was finally served by a relatively pleasant but frazzled employee.
“I heard my name called over the announcement. I’m in a real predicament. I need to get to Columbus, Ohio but my original flight was changed. I’m wondering why my name was called.”
“Yes, ma’am. Your name was called because there was a connecting flight arranged for you but you’re too late for it now.”
I was so frustrated, I broke in tears.
“I’m late because that woman sitting beside you wouldn’t listen to me when I asked her about the announcement 40 minutes ago.”
The man was gracious and patient with me. We talked about different options – staying overnight in Toronto and catching a flight the next morning, waiting for standby and hoping to get a seat or trying a crazy connection of three flights that evening. My mind was in such a tizzy, I couldn’t think straight so I stepped out of line to breathe.
I tried to get in touch with the director of the program to explain my predicament. Voice mail. Then, to add to the confusion, my phone went dead.
I sat in a crumbled mess on a bench nearby and prayed.
A few minutes later, while I was talking on the phone with my husband, a strange man came running down the hall, yelling my name. I quickly stood up and between heavy breaths, he announced, “We’ve got another flight for you. 4:00 today. You’re on it.” I have no idea why Air Canada Customer service didn’t offer this flight to me but this angel came to my rescue and I gave him a big hug.
This flight was also delayed many times that afternoon but I did indeed arrive in Columbus. I UBERed myself to my destination, which cost a hefty $100.00 and I arrived 6 hours late . . . but I arrived.
I wonder why these calamities happen to me but I believe God is in all things. There is something to learn from each adventure. I certainly saw my anxiety in clear view as I reacted to the craziness but I’ve also told this story a few times and everyone admits that they too, would have been extremely frustrated.
The week away was everything and more than I had hoped and prayed for – stillness. healing. joy – all wrapped up in a surrender to love.