As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. Psalms 42:1
Yesterday was the beginning of a really interesting journey. I was in a conference in Charleston and so wanted to just get home. My travel agent adjusted my schedule so that I could return home the next day. That evening, when I went to print boarding passes, the boarding process said that I was “out of sync.” So, I called the airline. After a number of keypad selections, I was connected with an agent that said that my travel agent did not complete the transaction. According to the airline employee, I could not board until the transaction was completed. The next phone call went to the travel agent who assured me that everything would resolve over night. However, if the boarding passes did not print the next day, then I would report to the check-in counter.
It’s probably no surprise to you that the boarding pass would still not print the next day. I had hoped to bypass this counter, but OK – I will check into the counter. At the counter, the airline employee could not assist me at the kiosk and told me that there were not any flights to that destination from the airport. Another person came over and found my flight (going to the expectation destination) and printed my boarding passes.
I was off to the security area. In security, my carry-on was searched. (The 70 business cards for the conference that were not dispersed because only 3 people came to my session had looked suspicious). After my bags were scanned twice, I proceeded to the gate.
When I arrived, it was pretty early. So, I wasn’t too alarmed that my destination showed a different city, Washington D.C. However, when it was time to board, it still showed Washington D.C. My flight number matched, and my destination city was on the boarding pass. I checked my carryon plane-side and boarded the plane.
On the plane, I found my comfy seat in seat 9D. The flight attendant announced that they were going to Washington D.C. I double checked, “But on to my destination, right?” She could not confirm this and said, “I think that you are on the wrong plane.” After reviewing my boarding pass, she said, “This doesn’t say Charleston at all. It only says your destination.” So, she conferred with the pilot who explained that occasionally a passenger would continue after DC on to my destination. So, we were off. The flight attendant came at beverage service time and told me that she confirmed that the flight was, indeed, going to my destination after D.C. She added, “But you will have to de-plane.” I said, “What do you mean?” She said, “You will need to catch the train back to the terminal.” I had never flew through DC and suddenly had visions of the big trams at Atlanta and Dallas and wondered how I would get back to the plane in the 20 minutes allowed for the stop.
The plane came down over the Ptolemaic river. The scenery was beautiful, especially the Washington monument from the plane. When the plane stopped, they took my carry-on luggage that I had checked plane-side, and placed it for my pickup. I left my comfy seat in 9D and took my single boarding pass to the train along with the carry on baggage. As the stewardess had recommended, I asked the agent assisting at the trains about what to do. He said, “Everyone on the trains.” When we arrived at the airport terminal, the same agent from the train allowed me to shortcut through the chairs to speak to the gate agent. The gate agent verified that I would be using my same boarding pass and scanned it with the scanner wand. I walked out the exit door (about 6 feet from the entrance door) and got onto a second train full of folks who were headed for the second leg of the flight.
On the tram, one of the really nice passengers asked me, “Hey, do you think that might be the Washington monument?” I just said, “Yes, I think that it is.” You could see the capitol and all of the beautiful multi-colored fall trees. I re-checked my gate-check luggage, climbed the stairs again, and returned back to my comfy seat 9D that I had occupied not any more than 20 minutes ago. Everyone else had changed — even the flight attendant and pilot. For me, I stayed calm ( and mildly amused) through the entire event because I had a sustained desire to just go home.
Sometimes, life throws us curves that we don’t expect mixed with seasons of uncertainty. At times, we wonder if we are on-course at all. Like the deer, we are to thirst for God. We are to be consumed with the desire to go home – regardless of the steps that are required to go there. Sometimes, the strange stops that get added to our way home wind up being the most beautiful and interesting. Wouldn’t have missed the journey, but I’m so glad that I’m home.
Dear God, thank you for getting me home safely today even when I wondered whether or not that would happen. Beyond this, thank you for the desire that you put in my heart to eventually make it to my eternal home with you.
How do you measure up? Are you longing for your eternal home? Journey together with me as we look at our lives framed through the only standard with which we should measure – God’s unchanging standard.