It was a trip like no other. Three flights, three delays. It took 17 hours to get from Johnstown, Pa., to Manitou Springs, Colo., where I would spend five days with my fiction writing class, learning from the masters. But I had to get there first.
Knowing how fickle western Pennsylvania weather could be in March (although I really thought winter would be well on its way by then) and knowing how unpredictable the airline flight schedules are, I booked my trip in early January for Tuesday, March 19, allowing myself an entire day for travel. I was to leave Johnstown at 6:30 a.m. (Eastern Time) and arrive in Colorado Springs 12:20 p.m. (Mountain Time). The first meeting wasn’t until 6 p.m. Wednesday, giving me time to rest from the trip and stroll the streets of the delightful little town at the base of Pikes Peak.
That was the plan.
Since when do plans go according to plan?
Especially when it comes to airline schedules.
Especially when it comes to weather—in March no less.
Sunday morning before the trip I checked the forecast: A snowstorm was in the offing for the next day. “God, how can you do this to me?” I groaned. “I’ve prayed for good travel weather for two months!”
So I packed and headed for my son’s house in Johnstown a day early to beat the storm. Tuesday morning he dropped me off at the airport, where I waited five hours for the ice to melt off the runway. Because I missed the connecting flight from DC to Denver, the airlines put me on a later flight, which was held up because – get this – a bathroom door on the plane was broken and we couldn’t take off until it was fixed.
“It’s going to be tight,” I texted my husband, referring to the connecting flight from Denver to Colorado Springs.
It was. When I got to Denver, I ran to the gate where I was sure everyone had already boarded. I’d made it! Boarding started within five minutes. But the walk from the terminal to the actual gate where the plane waited was long. I was feeling the effects of the extended travel day and the accompanying anxiety. When I snapped my seat belt on, I sighed with relief.
Too soon. The captain emerged from the cockpit. We had to deplane. Our broken aircraft needed replaced. An hour later, I made the long trek back to the gate, my briefcase getting heavier by the second. But it was the wrong gate. I retraced my steps, muttering loudly and regretting my “a time to laugh” t-shirt.
We landed in Colorado Springs a little before 9 p.m., and a not-so-cheap taxi ferried me to my hotel, where I arrived, worse for the wear, nine hours after I was supposed to. A porter relieved me of my luggage and showed me to my room. I stepped in – and gasped in delight: The room came with a gas fireplace, spa tub (which I used that night), king-size bed (which I’d have all to myself), and heated toilet seat!
It was a rough trip, but the destination was worth all the hassle.
Just like life—the journey is filled with delays, hassles, heavy burdens, missed connections, disappointments, and frustrations. Your itinerary is in another’s hands.
But, oh, what’s waiting for you on the other side!
When my steps begin to falter and my attitude gets sour, Lord, remind me of my final stop. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Revelation 21:1–22:5