Monday, June 11, 2007

24 hours to practice patience

Team picture after the wedding

Mikey, Paul, (Carlos - honorary member), Linda, Anna, Laurie and Megan

After a usual Friday at work, Corinne took me to the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport for my 7 pm flight to Chicago-O’Hare, and then from Chicago to Newark for Linda and Chris Allen-Poole’s wedding. I quickly made it through security in less than 10 minutes, and then sat and read until my flight. However, when I arrived in Chicago, all plans were off – due to a computer glitch with Air Traffic Control and the FAA, coupled with bad weather on the East coast – ALL FLIGHTS out of Chicago to the East Coast were CANCELED!!!!!

I proceeded to get in a line of approx. 300 + very angry people who all needed to get on a plane to the East Coast tonight –this was going to be a problem. As I was standing in line, I also tried calling the rebooking number – and the soonest they could get me to Jersey for the 3 pm Sunday wedding was 10:30 am on Sunday. That wasn’t going to work! After many phone calls and waiting in the rebooking line until almost midnight – I was able to get a confirmed seat on a flight to St. Louis for 5 pm Saturday night, and then be routed to Newark at 10:30 pm to arrive in Newark at 12 Midnight – just in time for the Sunday afternoon wedding. Because the flight that didn’t leave Chicago until dinner the next day – I was required to sleep somewhere - - - and of course, all of the area hotels were totally booked from all of the canceled flights that had arrived sometime in the afternoon. So the city of Chicago provided us wayward travelers with military cots and blankets all lined up in the K Terminal. As we walked down the airport – I thought to myself – “this is quite the adventure, I wonder what else will happen?” I spoke too soon.

We arrived to the cot area, and I found something you might picture in a refugee movie, hundreds of cots lined up with people scattered everywhere. I grabbed my blanket and pillow and proceed to find the safest resting place. I parked myself between a young women talking anxiously on her phone and a sleeping elderly couple with their cots pushed together. I figured this would be safe. To ensure none of my belongings would be stolen, I put my backpack on my back, and used my purse as a 2nd pillow. Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep. 1 am came and went, 2 am came and went, I think I fell asleep for a moment, and then it was 4 am – all of a sudden, whistles were blowing and men were yelling that it was time to get up. The airport opens officially at 4 am and Chicago doesn’t want a bunch of wayward travelers sleeping in their terminals during business hours. And so we were up. Hundreds of travelers wandering around looking for somewhere to sit or lay until their flight. I found an outlet, charged my phone and laid on the ground for a little nap. This time I fell asleep. I managed to get myself on stand by to get into St. Louis sooner, in hopes on getting on a standby flight from St. Louis to Newark sooner – and I got on! I was into St. Louis by 12 – only to wait there until my 10:30 pm flight to Newark. Stand by was totally booked, and the earlier flight was overbooked – so I kept my original ticket and submitted to God’s perfect will – practicing patience in the airport, and being joyful about it.

I arrived safely in Newark around 11:30 pm Saturday night – exactly 24 hours after my originally scheduled travel. Megan and Mikey picked me up promptly, not wanting me to wait one more second in the airport, and my bag was not lost! It was fully intact sitting at the top of a very large pile of luggage.

We got to the hotel, visited with one another for a while – hung out with Linda on her last night as a single woman – listened to Mikey play the guitar, and prayed together just like the good ol’ days. Linda and Chris’ wedding went smoothly, and was so beautiful! Chris even composed all of the Mass parts! That’s talent!

It was such a blessing to be with some of my team mates that I would so it all over again in a heart beat – even knowing ahead of time what was to come. Though a year has gone by since many of us had seen each other – the bonds are so strong. The Lord has kept us together through the beautiful body of Christ – brothers and sisters.

Team Dance Off!

Pretty flowers!

Pretty Ladies!

Home Team 05- 06 - - - I LOVE YOU!
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