Make Sure You Board the Right Airplane. 

Ever get really excited for a trip, head out the door all full of hope and anticipation, only to have it turn into one minor disaster after another?

As empty nesters, Eric and I now have the flexibility to take long weekends to do fun things we haven’t been able to do before. (Note to the busy moms of young kids reading this: Don’t hate me. I was there not long ago. It truly does go fast. And I’m sorry I just said that because I hated it when people told me that too. Anywho…) Eric and I recently decided to head to the mountains of NC to see the leaves in their fall glory. We’d never done that. The morning of our trip we got up before dawn and headed to the airport. Our excitement was doused rather quickly as we prepared to board our flight. 

There are two sides of the St. Pete, Florida airport. The crappy less than ideal side requires that you board the aircraft by going straight out the door versus having a nice covered ramp thing. Guess what side we were on? Yep. Apparently you have to pay extra to have an enclosed walkway to the plane. Maybe we should have all chipped in another couple dollars so Charlie would roll that thing over to gate 2. 

After a failed fundraising attempt led by yours truly, we were ushered out the ground level door to board our flight. It was 5:30 am – aka too early for this. As we stepped onto the tarmac, it started raining.

Listen, gate agent Fran, I’m not sure if you’ve recently looked out any of the 20 giant windows around you, but it’s raining. The plane is over there. I’m over here. There’s nothing between us except God and nature, not to mention that I did my hair at the ungodly hour of 3 am. While I’m not above asking God to pause the rain, just in case he’s on another call, can we get some umbrellas or something? 

No umbrellas provided. Not even a trash bag for head. Nothing. Not only that, but the gate agent made an important announcement as we proceeded into the monsoon. (#possibleexaggeration)

“Please, make sure to walk on the RIGHT side of the orange cones and caution tape, not the left, or you will end up in Toledo, Ohio instead of Concord, North Carolina.” 

I panicked. Did she say the right side of the cones is for Concord or don’t go on the right side? Did she say turn left to stay on the right side of the cones? How is this the best way to board this plane, Fran? Not only am I wet, but I may end up in Ohio instead of North Carolina?

Not the actual airplane, but this is what ours looked like just wetter.
This is actual me in seat 3C madder than a wet setting hen…and cold.

Also they should have a giant sign on the ramp with the destination on it, just sayin.

There are times when you think we’ve come a long way in the past 50 years. And then there are days like this. 

As the pilot hurried past us on the rain soaked boarding ramp, I considered grabbing onto his coat. Thought better of it when I realized I would likely go to jail. Not sure that was better than standing in the rain. Debatable. Apparently everyone in line in front of us were descendents of turtles so by the time we made it to 3B and 3C, I was soaked and grumpy. 

On the plane, we learned there was no room for our carry-on bags. We held up the line trying to take care of that issue. Arriving in Concord, NC a short time later, the fun continued as we departed the aircraft. You guessed it. We walked out on the tarmac, but this time in a cold wind. Does no one in the air travel industry believe in modern day advances? 

Next stop on our party tour? The Avis rental counter. We had already reserved the car so this should be painless. Oh nay nay. There we waited for 2 hours to be given a car we’d already paid for while also on hold with Avis “customer service”. #astoryforanotherday

On top of all that, I had not had any coffee. 

When I went to the bathroom, there was no toilet paper. 

By the time we got the rental car, the gas tank was empty. 

When we tried to find a gas station, the road was closed.

Finally making it to breakfast, the restaurant was out of gluten-free bread. 

Some days, you just know Satan himself is determined to mess with you. I was so glad I was kidless on this trip or I would’ve surely been in a fetal position on the floor. I wish I could tell you I was super spiritual and prayed for each person in my rainy day path of wrath. I did not. I did keep myself from choking the Avis employee, but it was a close call. More visions of jail time helped. By the time our oblivious waiter delivered the news about the gluten-free bread, I flat out told him it had been the morning from hell and I was gonna need a moment with my coffee before I could speak again.

He patted me on the shoulder while looking sympathetically at Eric. Probably a male-bonding thing that happens when the wife looks like she’s going to burn everything down around them. I felt tears well up in my eyes as the aggravation of the past few hours weighed on me. I knew the enemy had gotten the best of me one little inconvenience at a time. I had tried to be kind. I had tried to be understanding, maybe even funny. Yet, the more things went awry, the less “good April” I was able to muster. Maybe I used to have more patience. Maybe not. But on this day, I was completely out.

Live long enough and we all face situations that make us madder than a wet setting hen. (Not sure what that means, but I’m southern and that’s what we say when we’re really angry.) I’m certain if I asked for a show of hands of all those who have lost their temper and subsequently felt guilty, every hand would go up. Girl, I get it. Even when we know we shouldn’t be snapping at people, we do it. We’re human. Yet, if we are going to be like Jesus, it’s these times when we have to try our hardest to be love in a frustrating situation. Why? Because the devil looks for the opportunity to weaken our witness. That nasty thing we want so desperately to say to the person wronging us is probably going to cause us grief later and doesn’t cause that person to think very highly of those that say they’re Christians either. It may take every fiber of our being to embrace the opportunity before us to be like Jesus, but we’ll be glad we did. Plus the recipient of our would-be-wrath may need us to be Jesus, to be love, more in that moment than we realize. 

That said, when we miss it, like I did, remember that his mercies are new every morning – even that next morning standing in line in a cold rain on the tarmac once again to board the flight home. #truestory

27 Give no opportunity to the devil… 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:27 and 29-32
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