The Weary Traveler
Well, I’m back in Carmel this evening after a trip to NJ the last several days. And if you read the post on Monday, you know it was quite a trip out there. Thankfully, today’s return flight – through Charlotte – was uneventful. I must admit that there have been a number of times that I have had rather difficult trips; and although I never get used to it, I sort of expect delays when I fly. I try to remain optimistic, but there have just been too many shattered expectations.
Recently, upon our return from London, Janet and I were boarding a flight to Indy from JFK when our flight was cancelled – mechanical problems. We had been up more than 23 hours and all we wanted was to get home. We ended up having to stay the night at a hotel and were finally able to fly out the next morning. It was quite an ordeal, with Janet’s broken finger, 4 pieces of luggage, no car, and various shuttles and trams to get to the bus area; before we could even get to the hotel. Did I mention they only had smoking rooms? Note to self – don’t accept the free room from the airlines next time.
Then, several years ago, there was the time that I was flying from Dallas to Indy and got rerouted to St. Louis due to storms. Upon arrival in St. Louis I was was told that there weren’t any direct flights to Indy, but I could get home through Chicago. So, I flew to the Windy City, and headed to the ticket agent for the final leg of my journey. Well, as luck would have it, there were no more flights to Indy from Chicago that night, as O’Hare was in the process of being shut down due to storms as well.
So, I made number of calls to get a hotel; no luck. There were so many stranded travelers there weren’t any rooms available for miles. Apparently, in their infinite wisdom, the decision makers at O’Hare set up several hundred cots near the security area and we were directed to head to the prepared area. Of course, this was not on my top ten list of things I wanted to do, but the police would not let us stay in the gate areas, so we were herded up, like animals, and assigned cots near one end of the concourse. It was already late, tempers were short and everyone was exhausted.
Each of us was handed a blanket, a small pillow and told which cot we were to sleep on. Now most of the overhead fluorescent lights were already turned off, but there were still a number of lights on – I can only assume they were security lights in the ceiling. Mind you, the blankets were wool, and scratchy; and I think it is a good bet that they had been used and put away numerous times without being cleaned. The pillows were pretty grungy as well.
Anyway, the cots were those lightweight aluminum things that you can probably buy at some camping outlet for $30. They were designed to hold someone 100 pounds or less, and I was born weighing more than that. So you can imagine that every time someone moved, the rest of us listened for the cot to collapse. And many of them did…. The canvas wasn’t stretched very tight, either, so you kind of felt like you were in a hammock, with your rear end several inches off the floor. It was impossible to turn over and with my bad back, I was in agony.
Several times I tried to get up and walk around, but it was almost pointless. And on top of it all, I was in the middle of a sea of people. This wasn’t one row of cots, mind you, it was a section of the concourse. And the cots were in rows of at least 100 wide and at least 8 rows deep. Of all the people I could be next to, I got some guy who would not get off his phone and obviously didn’t have very good manners. He was talking rather loudly and didn’t care that folks around him wanted to try to get some rest. I don’t think he had too much regard for authority either. In fact, even though he had his back to me, I could still hear him speaking on his phone. Oh, and one more thing. He had his other hand down the back of his sweat pants, scratching; if you know what I mean. And all I could think of was that I hoped that he had never used my blanket.
Finally, around 5 in the morning they got us all up. The security lanes were opening up and TSA wanted us out of the area. Since we never left the secured area, I were already cleared for travel since I never left the concourse to get any baggage from the claim area. Three hours later, I took off for home. On hindsight, it would have been better to stay in St. Louis and fly out the next morning from there. I am older and wiser now.
And it might surprise you to know that there is even a Psalm about protection for weary travelers. It is Psalm 91. And my favorite verses are 91:11-12, which read, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” The whole Psalm is worth a read, but these verses in particular tell us that God will send His angels to protect us and guide us during times when we are vulnerable. And I have personally experienced this wonderful protection many times.
So my encouragement tonight is to put your faith and your trust in God. While we may not always understand the reasons, His way is best and He promises to surround us with guardian angels during our times of tribulation. And my prayer is that you will acknowledge the supremacy of God and his desire to protect us – He loves us more than we can possibly know. Have a great day!