As I craft this devotion, it is 3:33am, and I am sitting in the nearly empty Baltimore/Washington airport headed for Boston, waiting for a 6:20am flight that is scheduled to board at 5:50am. Why am I here so early? That’s the crazy story.
Yesterday morning, I left my house at 7:15am, picked up breakfast at Chick-fil-A, and headed to the Long Beach, CA, airport to meet Tracy who was flying in from Oakland, CA. We had what was supposed to be a 3-hour wait for leg one of our journey to a publishing retreat. We timed it perfectly. Just as I pulled up to the curb, Tracy was walking down the sidewalk. I unloaded my luggage from the car, kissed my husband goodbye, and Tracy and I headed into the brand-new terminal to check our large suitcases.
Once at the gate, we settled in to talk and eat our chicken breakfast burritos (with extra cheese). Right away, things started to turn. Our flight was delayed 20 minutes. There was enough time in the schedule to still get us to Denver to catch our connecting flight, so we shrugged our shoulders and “let patience have its perfect work.”
In the meantime, we met Yvonne. This lovely little 72-year-old lady who loved Jesus, told us she recognized Christian sisters when she saw us, and recounted the great visit she had just experienced with her 3 siblings—all over 70. We learned their dad had been a pastor and she was now dating a gentleman who would probably be her 3rd husband, after two long marriages that had left her widowed before. We celebrated Yvonne for still knowing how to catch a man!
All the while, time was marching on, and our flight’s delay continued to lengthen. Our gate then changed and after everyone’s mad dash to the new location, Tracy’s and my names were called over the loudspeaker. The agent told us we definitely would not make our connecting flight, so she was going to reroute us. Nothing was simple. Because of the 3-hour time difference from the West to East coast, the later it got, the more impossible it would be for us to get into Boston that evening. Our Long Beach to Denver to Boston trip morphed into Long Beach to Dallas to Baltimore to Boston—the next morning!
But before the gate agent finished rerouting us, she told us the reason why the original plane was delayed. Someone had suffered a heart attack and died on board the flight.
Yes, the plans of about 200 people were disrupted, but something far more tragic had happened. A life was gone. Think of that person’s family, friends, and acquaintances. One does not plan and go on a trip thinking the destination will never be reached. There should be discomfort upon receiving such news. The inconvenience that lay in front of us paled in comparison to such a report. Tears sprang to Tracy’s eyes. Any anxiety that may have been mounting in me immediately quelled. Although rattled, the airport personnel maintained their professional demeanor and did their best to serve us. The day kept moving but it seemed like there should have at least been a moment of silence. After all, a life was gone.
In the midst of all our hustle and bustle (and what better place to witness hustle and bustle but in an airport), let’s always be able to make room for and put what’s really important in perspective. Take time to cultivate the important relationships in our lives. Make new friends. Love again after loss. And recognize that other’s lives matter.
By Dr. Sharon Norris Elliott, all rights reserved. Permission is granted to use any or all of this devotion as long as the copyright and bylines are attached. Thank you.