I have to say…the end of my weekend, Monday in particular, could have turned into one very bad day. I traveled to good ole’ Lakeland this past weekend- land of my alma mater, land of gators, and a place that I absolutely love. My college roommate [one of them] was getting married and I had the honor of being her guest. The weekend itself was good, strange at times, and full of nostalgia, but good. I always love seeing my best friend, even if brief. I always love, LOVE, seeing godly couples embark on a Gospel centered marriage. I love being able to drive past places that I hold special in my heart. But like I said, this past Monday, at the end of my trip, could have been rough.
I was supposed to be flying out on an 11 am flight out of Orlando International Airport. I fly standby so, granted, I know there are always risks of not getting on a flight. When I was getting ready to fly down to FL I double checked the returning flights to even see if it was worth trying to get out. Everything seemed fine, but man, just a few days can change everything. A few hours can change even more.
On Monday morning I dropped off my rental car, and walked to security. It was busy, but not unlike anything I’ve seen at Orlando. What I found out though, was that on every flight with United Airlines, there were dozens of standby plus each flight booked to capacity. Honestly, it would be a sheer miracle to get on any flight to any airport. I tried for 3 different flights, with different destinations, with not even a glimmer of luck. My mom had the suggestion to look into buying a return ticket to Atlantic City on Spirit. I was reluctant because, well, I’m broke and had no desire to spend money. She then told me that I needed to get out on Monday because I would otherwise be stuck in Orlando for several days due to inclement weather hitting the Northeast on early Tuesday morning.
So I went down to Spirit Airlines’ ticketing desk. There was no line. In case you didn’t know, they’re a small airline with travel to Central America and the Continental US. What’s crazy to me was that there were several employees that could have helped me but, for whatever reason, the one that did help me ended up being the very thing to change my day. By this point, I had already been at the airport for 6 hours with no flight in sight. After probably two hours of trying to figure out a flight via United and trying to work out an option of being standby on Spirit, I knew I needed to fly out, even if that meant buying a ticket. The girl, Melissa, was one of the most helpful airline employees I have ever worked with. Anyone who knows me knows I travel a lot, yet she was by far among the most pleasant I have experienced. It started with simple conversation and bonding over our shared birthday next month. Yup, just two strangers, with the same birthday, hanging out. Even after purchasing my ticket, we continued to chat, the conversation getting deeper, more personal, revealing more of who each of us are. It was great.
At the end of her shift, as she was about to leave, Melissa asked me what I would be doing for the next literally 7 hours until my flight. I simply said I’d wait. Instead of me waiting, she decided to invite me to lunch with her and her sister.
Talk about the Kingdom.
You see, in our probably 2 hour conversation at this point, we had learned a few things about each other, including we both loved the LORD. As believers, there is something that connects each of us, and that is simply the love of God. It doesn’t mean we’ll like every person we meet, nor does it mean we have to, however it is a call to love one another. Melissa, however, took it a step further. She could have easily gone home at the end of her shift. She could have easily chosen to keep at basic chitchat. She could have definitely not invited me to lunch. But that’s not what happened. We went to lunch, and her sister joined us. It was great. Relaxing. Nice to not be at the airport for a few hours. Our conversation was exciting, everything from God to travel to missions to boys [of course- we’re girls].
I’m not saying what happened that afternoon was so incredibly profound, but I do believe it was a beautiful example of Kingdom love [love that comes with the unity of believers].
Like I said, my day could have been bad. I could have gone from flight to flight getting bumped and getting stuck in Orlando. I could have [and would have] been exhausted from the effort and disappointment of standby lists remaining full. And I probably would have been stuck at the airport for days had I not bought that ticket. But even with buying the ticket, I would have been waiting 7 hours until my flight. Granted, I would have been okay, I would have managed. It has happened before and I have managed. But that’s not the point.
The point is that someone went out of their way. Someone intentionally showed the love of God, despite their own exhaustion. Someone purposefully befriended a literal stranger. I can’t think of a better example in my life seeing someone live out their faith to a stranger, and not be on a mission trip putting in their Christian duty. My challenge to all of you who read this is simple: be intentional, be purposeful, be loving. Be Christ, in all situations, in all places, to all people.