Thursday, February 16, 2006

Back in November, Deanna wrote about her love for flying. While this topic causes no trouble in our marriage, it is clearly not something we agree on. I can "get used" to flying. I don't even mind flying, okay... I mind it a little bit. What I do not enjoy, is the madness that accelerates at the conclusion of each flight.

When the flight is over, a free for all ensues. A plane full of claustrophobic people all intent in being the first one out the door, rise and... go nowhere! Bags are drug from beneath the seat and noggins get knocked as overstuffed overhead compartments burst open with shifted pull-behind suitcases. When did we get so unruly? There should be rules about not getting up until the flight attendant comes and releases your row... you know, like in weddings.

Yeah, I can't wait to fly again!

Last weekend, when we were heading home from Tulsa, our plane arrived in Chicago to snow. We could not get to our gate because another plane was there was waiting in line to be de-iced. So we sat for between a half hour and an hour waiting. We missed our connecting flight (which was to bring us to Indy).

After the aformentioned mayhem dance was complete, I grabbed my coat and bag, oh and my wife, and headed for the nearest service counter. I patiently waited my turn to dislodge my pent up... joy. Actually, I was very nice. While standing there I remembered what a good friend of mine teaches... "our disappointment is God's Divine appointment." So I began to watch for my opportunity. The attendant rebooked us on the next flight and we proceeded to our gate.

Upon arrival, I realized my coat was gone. I quickly retraced my steps. Staff even returned to the plane and looked for it. It was gone.

I returned to our gate. It was too crowded, so we found a nearby place to sit. While heading there, I saw another man wearing the same coat I had just lost... only he was a size larger, and so was his coat. After a few minutes passed, I noticed he had taken a seat near us. I stared at his coat trying to decide whether or not to go "make sure" it was a size bigger.

Later, while we waited, I saw him pass by at least two more times. I wanted my coat back, and I thought about not asking nicely.

Finally, our plane was boarding. I went to my seat (We were separated for this last flight due to a crowded plane, and the whole rebooking thing). Well I thought I went to my seat. I realized I had gone back a row too far. When I collected my bag and moved up, I found that the guy I was sitting beside was the same guy I had been seeing with "my coat."

As I put my ipod headphones in, I thought, this has to be my "Divine Appointment!" I started thinking about what I would say to him. The doorhatch closes, and I am instructed to turn off my "portable electronic device."

Then the captain comes on and says "we are in line to be de-iced, and then we will be on our way." We wait.

Soon, we see what looks like orange kool-aid running down the windows. Yeah, were going to leave soon. Nope. The captain again, "folks, as you can see it is snowing heavily, and by the time we get to the runway, there is a good chance we would need to be de-iced again, so we are going to wait this snow, out."

Oh yippee. Did I tell you how much I love flying? Did I tell you I struggle with claustrophobia? We sat, and sat, and waited and waited.

I started making comments to my "coat buddy." He responded in kind.

It was now time for my brother to pick us up in Indy, and there we sat in Chicago. I figure that we had just about spent as much time in the plane on the ground as we had in the air flying... from Tulsa. I sat there hoping my wife had disregarded the rules and called my brother (she has the cell phone).

An hour or more after sitting in my seat to go home, we finally started to move. That was something to Praise the Lord for, so I did!

I started up a conversation with my "coat boy." He talked quite a bit when asked questions. After a time, I started to share with him. He was completely unresponsive. I prayed for him, and continued with the conversation.

It turns out that this Divine Encounter did not result in a salvation, but seeds were planted, and that is okay. "I was obedient," I said to myself. I just think I could have done more.

Yes the situation had me on edge. Yes I spent time in diligent prayer asking God to help me not to "freak out" in the enclosed plane. Yes, God was faithful. He gave me words to share, and a way to do it.

You know, I never brought up the coat. I decided that if it was mine, he needed it worse than I did, and he could have it. I have other coats.

We finally landed in Indy. My lovely wife had broken the aviation rules, and called my brother. He did not have to stand around and wait. I can't wait to fly again.

I won't have to. I'm leaving in about three hours for Norfolk, Virginia. There is a conference on missions for the North African country we'll be in this summer. I am meeting with the missionaries we will serve with. Then I get to spend time with my sister and her family (yes, she is the mother of Joshua- keeper of the sword).

Deanna will remain behind this time, and will update you tomorrow. I'll return on Saturday evening.

Have a blessed day!

brent (dad)

9 Comments:

At 7:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the laughter this morning Brent!! I throughly enjoyed your story, and I am glad you let him have your coat!! you, once again, were faithful!!

Still praying in Kentucky!
Deb

 
At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brent- Thank your for reminding us to be obedient to our Lord in the small ways...you are such a blessing to our internet family. I hope that you have a safe trip this weekend.

 
At 9:46 AM, Blogger NatenAmy said...

Brent-- Whenever I fly from now on (pretty frequently I must add) I will think of you and say a prayer that wherever you are... in a plane or not, that you will be "freaking out" for Him. Have a safe trip and we promise to take care of Deanna while you are away... especially on Saturday! :D
We love you loads and loads.
Amy (and Nate too)

 
At 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That really brought a smile to my face today when everything around me has be gray and gloomy, I'll be praying for you and your flight may God provide a divine appointment for you. Take care
chrissy

 
At 5:16 PM, Anonymous Mary said...

Thanks for the story and the reminder to be obedient! On our trip to Peru, BJ was my seat partner every flight and bus ride (except when we changed it up so it wouldn't be boy-girl so we could sleep) because his last name was next alphabetically to mine. He's my favorite "seat-mate" as we called it.
Just wanted to let you know that I'm praying for you guys and think about you all the time. I'll be praying for you dad as you make this next journey and for all the ones you have in the future. Be safe!
Love love love
Mary in Houston

 
At 6:39 PM, Anonymous April said...

so is that an official announcment? Will I be serving with y'all in North Africa? If so, I am looking forward to serving the Father side by side with each of you.Praying continually.


April C.

 
At 11:35 PM, Blogger Lattany said...

After reading your story, I feel compelled to share a funny airplane story of my own. Ironically, it also involves deicing, Chicago airport, and a Divine appointment.

It was January 2005 and I was making my second trip to Thailand with a team of about twenty-two other teens and adults. We were to pick-up team members at various points during our journey. We arrived in Chicago just as it was beginning to snow and, after a significant lay-over, boarded our plane to fly to Narita, Japan (14 hour flight, after which we'd board another plane and fly eight hours to Bangkok, after which we'd board a final plan and fly an hour to Chiang Mai!). One small problem -- the snow had delayed one of our adult team member's Philly plane from arriving on time. We were on a cell phone with him -- okay, they had a gate, but it was taking FOREVER to get everyone off the plane (sound familiar?). They have a gate -- 6'6" man running through the airport to our gate. He arrives and they allow one person in front of him on, two people in front of him on, he's next, and they said he needs some other paper. The door to our plane closes, and he's in the terminal. The hostess says there's nothing she can do.

We proceeded to sit there for several more minutes, as he stood waving at us from the terminal window. He'd have to spend the night in Chicago, get on a different flight the following day, make separate arrangements, and miss our first day in Thailand. We pushed back and headed for the runway while he headed to the curb to wait for the hotel shuttle. He and our leader continued to talk via cell phone to determine how they would get him to Thailand and hook up once he arrived. Shoot, in the midst of talking, he just missed the hotel shuttle that was pulling away! Oh well, another would be by shortly.

Meanwhile, we waited on the runway... for a long time. By now, we were approaching three hours waiting on the plane, and they began to show the in-flight movies to try to keep everyone seated, calm and quiet. "There's been a delay and back-up in planes because of the inclimate weather. Please be patient, we'll be taking off shortly." Nearly an hour later... "We are now cleared for take-off, but must deice for a third time because it has been so long since we initially prepared for take-off. Please be patient and we'll be taking off shortly." We all speculated about how cool it would be if we went back to the gate so that Mr. Demme could get on, but they never do that -- they'd bring the deicing kady to us. But nope -- we headed back to the gate, our gate, and not only that... they connected to the terminal. We phoned Mr. Demme as soon as we could. Yup, because he had missed that first hotel shuttle, he was still there. He high-tailed it back into the airport, dashed through security, and ran for the gate -- cheers arose from our team of 20+ when he walked onto that plane!

So many "God things" it just gives you what our leader always calls "God bumps".

I don't *love* flying, but it's something I'm willing to endure (even for 22+ hours!) to have the privilege to serve our great Lord and King in Asia and wherever else He calls.

Lattany
Fairfax, VA, USA

 
At 12:17 AM, Anonymous Cathy said...

Thank you for the much needed laugh!! It has beena while since I have left a message, but your family is always in my prayers...
Love in Christ, Cathy

 
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