In case you ever need to know, there is a place of almost complete solitude, in the C concourse of the Portland airport.
I know why.
In the walkway, just before you get here, is a play place. This surely acts as a great deterrent. But I tell you to stay the course and walk past the squealing children, because just beyond is a huge section of quiet and empty chairs for the choosing.
My day of travel began in Kalispell, where I was informed of a 40-minute delay in my flight.
At my next stop, in Seattle, I happened to glance at my other flight times, to see that the 3:30 p.m. arrival at my final destination in Redmond had been changed to 9:15 p.m. The lady at the counter kindly bumped me to an earlier flight to Portland, so that I could hopefully still make my connection and keep my original arrival time.
Except she failed to mention that the afternoon flight had been cancelled all together.
So, you know. Long day. Really long day.
I feel keenly aware of how many choices I’ve had to make today, in how to react to people and circumstances.
Like when I had sat in a hot plan on the Seattle tarmac forever –a plane that was still stuffy, even once we got in the air. Then the flight attendant brought drinks, and I thought, Glory, a bottle of cold water.
Minus the cold. It was warm –sitting on the tarmac too long just like me.
I had a choice of responses in that moment.
Or when the airline lady told me, at the Portland gate, that the afternoon flight to Redmond had been cancelled all together. My face fell, and I could sense that she was bracing herself for probably not the first tirade of the day. I had a choice to make.
Or when I found a spot where I could settle in to read my book and a lady herded her seven lively children into the row of chairs across from me. I had a choice.
Or when the lady and the seven children left to board their flight, I saw they had left all of their food garbage on the chairs and floor. I had a choice.
Or when I had to call my friend and tell her I would miss the first evening of the writer’s retreat, I had a choice of how my voice would sound after she said hello.
So I’m tired but not from all the start and stop of travel.
It’s a good tired from all the start and stop of controlling my responses to trying circumstances. I’ve worked to enjoy people and to serve them today, and that is no small task when you’re in a sweaty airplane or at a ticket counter or trying to read a book in a noisy airport.
But I have felt God’s presence and strength with me today. I’ve chosen to have ever so many good responses, because the Lord has been getting my attention and whispering how he wants me to act all day long. He is good.
So I tell you this truth for your hard days, because I know you want to do good:
The Lord will guide you always. (Isaiah 58:11 NIV)
I wish I were in Redmond having fun with the other writers, but this has been a good working day for my soul. Maybe you could say I’ve traveled a long way in good behavior today. Thanks be to the Spirit of God inside me.
May the Lord help you choose to react swimmingly, to the challenging moments coming your way today.