I'm not sure if you heard, but the other day Southwest Airlines faced some major technical glitches that forced many flights to cancel -- including my own. I was at San Francisco International ready to head back home to Nashville after an eleven day adventure in California when hundreds of us realized that our flights had been delayed or cancelled. It took a few hours for the agents to rebook everyone, and I found myself in the Bay Area for one more night. So the next day I took off from San Fran and I arrived in San Diego only to find out my next flight had been cancelled as well (and couldn't be rebooked for 2 days). Oh, and hey, it was ComicCon in San Diego which meant all of the hotels in the area were booked. Guys, it was a serious mess.
While I got my situation figured out with the help of spiritual family, I have to say that the whole debacle it was an interesting sight to behold. Thousands of people were affected across the country, and many of the ones I saw in San Francisco and San Diego were acting like hell had frozen over. There was a lot of frustration and yelling and anger, much of which was directed at the agents behind the counters or the customer service reps over the phone. I don't know if I have ever seen so many angry and irritable people in such a condensed space/amount of time before, but it sure was ugly.
And for someone who doesn't always adjust well to sudden change, I was surprised to find that I was (mostly) pretty calm about it all (which may have been because I wasn't really ready to head back to the real world). Regardless, I learned something really important while waiting in lines at both SFO and SAN airports:
We need to be willing to be interrupted.
We are so good at making our plans, getting our ducks in a row, setting our calendars to alert us when it's time to leave A to head to B. Now, I don't think that there is anything inherently wrong with being a good planner (because heyo, I am one of those people), but it does become problematic when we are so reliant on our schedules that we miss out on things God is trying to show us or people He is wanting us to encounter.
When my second flight got cancelled in San Diego - I won't lie - I was upset, and I let myself sit in that frustration for far longer than I'd like to admit. But as I let me eyes scan the room on all of the people fuming around me, something in my spirit changed. I saw an opportunity to love these people through my words and my demeanor, which had found peace amidst the chaos. So for the next eight hours, while I waited for my new flight home, I prayed for an opportunity to meet someone I could talk with and pray for. While it didn't happen in quite that way, I did sense that I needed to pray for a some of the people that walked by. So I did. I didn't know their names, or their stories, but I didn't need to in that moment. I just lifted them up, and trusted God with the rest.
Being willing to be interrupted isn't easy, because it goes against our individualistic, go-go-go culture that has conditioned us to plan and schedule and not let anything get in our way. But I was reminded over and over in my waiting at the airports that nothing is wasted when we walk with Jesus, and that when our plans fall through or our circumstances change, we have the choice as to how we are going to react. Will be get upset, and let that come through our words and actions, potentially hurting others in the process? Or will we breathe deeply and accept that maybe God has something to tell us, teach us, or show us amidst the change? I don't know about you, but I want to be someone who chooses the latter.
And don't worry, after 22 hours of travel, I finally made it home to Nashville. What an adventure!