Sometimes a day lasts longer than twenty-four hours. Yesterday, I had one of those days. I started the morning at 3 am about an hour north of San Jose, California, where I’d been for a week. My flight home left at 6:10 am, which meant I needed to be at the airport two hours before that, which meant I needed to leave an hour before that. And since I didn’t get back to my room until nearly 11 pm the night before and I still had to pack, I just decided to call it a wash and try again for sleep the next night. So really, I started at 6 am the previous day.
I stayed at the Mount Hermon Camp and Conference Center, in a lovely cabin at the top of a steep hill. Which meant I had to get my three large bags down the hill in the 3 am pitch-black. I made it about halfway down and figured, what the hey? I let the rolling suitcase go the rest of the way by itself. I do have my moments of brilliance. Usually when no one is around to witness them.
At the bottom of the hill, I gathered the suitcase again, adjusted my zipper-busting backpack, and hefted my too-full duffle bag onto the other shoulder. Next year, all I’ll bring is a toothbrush, a change of underwear, and a spray can of industrial-strength deodorant.
Somehow I made it to the designated meeting place for the Uber—the post office parking lot. I parked my bag next to a big flower box and took a seat on a speed bump. And I waited. And waited and waited. Once I waved at the Google Earth camera that passed overhead, filming for the next episode of Punk’d.
When the car finally arrived, I mentioned my flight time.
“Really?” the driver said. “I thought it was 6:30.” He didn’t look worried as he loaded my bags.
Soon we were on our way. Did I mention we were in the mountains? And it was inky-black, and the roads were modeled after a bowl of spaghetti? I asked the driver if he’d ever driven a fire truck. I felt certain he had.
“No, I’m a retired dentist.”
Wonderful. I tightened my seatbelt and got ready to meet Jesus face-to-face.
We arrived at 5:15. “That’s the fastest I’ve made that trip,” the driver told me. He looked proud.
I think I grinned and nodded. I might have congratulated him. I’m pretty sure my face was puke green.
Inside, I struggled my bags to the kiosk and tried to check in, only to learn my flight had been canceled. I chose another flight, but apparently I didn’t choose it fast enough, because an angry little airport man yelled at me.
“Ma’am, you’re too slow. People are waiting. Move aside, and I’ll do it for you.” He took my boarding pass and punched in some numbers.
A woman at the next kiosk with a strong accent said, “Pardon? Help?” I could tell she spoke very little English.
The airport man yelled at her too. “Ma’am, you’ll have to read the directions. I’m not an interpreter.”
She looked at him like he’d just wished her a happy birthday.
I moved to her kiosk and began to read the instructions out loud. “Name?”
She handed me her boarding pass, and I typed in her name.
She nodded and told me a date. I hope I got it right.
Grumpy airport guy hands me a new boarding pass and a blank luggage tag.
“This is blank,” I said.
“Oh, geez,” he replied, and opened up my kiosk to change the ink cartridge.
I kept typing dubious information into my new friend’s kiosk.
Several minutes or hours later, grumpy airport guy hands me a new luggage tag and says, “Put this on your bag.”
I peeled off the adhesive, and he grabbed it back. “Not like that! You’re doing it wrong.”
“But you told me to—“
“I didn’t tell you to do it like that!” he yelled. I’m not kidding. The grumpy little airport man yelled at me.
I placed a hand on his arm and said, “Sir, I know you are feeling stressed, but you are doing a great job, and I appreciate you.” What else was I going to say?
“I’m not stressed!” he hissed. “I just need coffee!”
I understand, sir. Believe me, I understand.
I really don’t have a point to this story, other than to say I finally arrived home at 9 pm. I survived. After a felt-like-three-hundred-years day I am now in my soft jammies and black satin slippers, propped on my pillows and typing this to you.
Sometimes it feels like our journey will never end. Hang in there, my friend. Good things are coming. No matter how inky-black the night or how twisted the road or how cranky our fellow journeymen may be, there is always hope. With God as a travel companion, we can be assured of a soft landing.
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer,” Romans 12:12.