Another text message received.
Another flight delay.
We each shared a collective sigh, our growing excitement for traveling west tempered for a few more hours. Our attention turned back to a previous conversation as we tried to shroud our disappointment with stories of family, friends, and fun.
There is nothing fun about being stuck in an airport for five hours.
The restaurants closed, the crowds dwindled, and we checked our Twitter feeds to pass the time.
We were the last flight to leave the airport.
There are times in this life when we are simply powerless to control the events around us. I can’t fix a broken plane. I can’t make time miraculously speed forward. I can’t suddenly transport myself from here to there with the twitch of my nose or the rub of a genie’s bottle.
I can, however, control my reaction to those things that wield power over me.
I smiled at my travelmates. Allowed laughter to resonate against the tiled floor as we focused on joy instead of frustration. Even laughed at myself when I mistakenly told an airline attendant I was headed to Chicago instead of Denver, a faux pas surely rooted from my in-laws living in Chi-Town for two decades.
We took selfies to commemorate the unforeseen turn-of-events, our smiles as vivid as if we were already flying to our destination hours before.
The airline attendant was pleasantly apologetic, acknowledging the extensive amount of time that had passed, offering directions on how to contact the airline for a small credit for the inconvenience.
Then, five hours later, we boarded the plane.
And were rewarded by three hours of continuous sunsets.
Sometimes we need to know there is a greater purpose for those things we can’t control. That change doesn’t always equate despair. That beautiful surprises can occur in the midst of chaos and disappointment.
And that sometimes God gives us RAKs, too.
Our flight attendant was very kind, helping passengers with connecting flights and soothing crying babies. I left her a little random act of kindness as we exited the plane.