Charlie Home for Christmas?

** Happy 6th Birthday, Abigail! I was there at your birthing, girl. What a very special day for a very special girl!!

At the moment I peck away at the keyboard, Charlie, our college freshman son, is trying to get home. Two flights in a row have been canceled due to weather in Boston (he was due home Saturday). This a.m. he is finally on a flight, although it hasn’t taken off yet–over an hour late on takeoff, which means he’ll more than likely miss his connecting flight from Atlanta to Minneapolis.

On the home front, Rich (my husband) has been calling the Platinum members’ hotline to get him a seat and then rebook when the flight is canceled. Today’s challenge will be to get him home for Christmas from Atlanta, I guess. Besides prayer and chartering a private jet, this is about the best we can do for Charlie right now.

To add insult to injury, Charlie’s tram ride to the airport this a.m. included delays and a train switch due to breakdown. Then, at Logan’s security, he got pulled aside for a random full security check. He just made the flight, a flight that will probably leave him people watching in Atlanta for the day. Seems he is really getting the full holiday travel in terrible weather baptism.

Sometimes we run into snags like this in our walk with God. Due to no fault of our own, interfering forces around us are unleashed (our Old Testament friend, Job, is an extreme example of this). They make things difficult and work to keep us from moving forward, work to keep us from hearing God, work to keep us from following Jesus. They breathe into our ears, “There is no God” or “He has abandoned you, you’re on your own” or “You’re at our mercy, curse God and buddy up with us”. Our focus is to get Home so we do everything in our power to get there: we switch trains, butt in line, scream bloody murder, claim special status, rebook, rebook, rebook, run as fast as we can. What is the reward? Like Charlie, we watch flight status move from “on time” to “canceled”, we dine on crackers and reside alone in an empty dorm, we feel the train stop and scurry to the one that promises to get us there, we endure an unwarranted security check by suspicious eyes that wonder why we care, we sit on grounded flights, we miss connections…we travel but find ourselves just as far away from Home but on unknown turf. We keenly realize our time is limited, yet nothing we do helps. We feel a bit like a hamster on a wheel–going nowhere fast.

Maybe we should take a closer look at that hamster on a wheel thing–what are the benefits? Any hamster would tell you it is great exercise. Getting nowhere, yet still trying, shows where our heart is and helps exercise our faith…we grow a bit stronger when we persevere. We learn new things about ourselves and how important it is to travel light. We are often brought to our knees out of desperation–prayer takes on new meaning for us. We become aware that forces larger than ourselves are sometimes allowed to play cat and mouse with us–humility begins to bubble up. We claim Home even when Home seems impossible. We turn from the small and dark voices that whisper in our ear to disembark. We trust that no matter what, our Lord has a way Home for us and we begin to seek that way. We stop trying in our own power to get Home and start listening and watching for His cues for how to move forward. When no flights are available, we wonder yet trust and decide to invite Him to use us for the sake of those we find sitting next to us. Some of us even praise God, imagine that.

I can’t say what Charlie will learn from these past few days–I guess that is between him and God. I do hope that he is claiming God, even though. I hope that God is in his face teaching him new things. I hope that a new level of Christmas happens for all of us–that God finds room in our inn for a birthing of deeper faith, that Jesus finds space to grow into, that love and light fills the dark places.

Charlie home for Christmas? I would have said ‘no problem’ a few days ago. Now I’m not so sure, I guess other flights today from Atlanta to Minneapolis are booked solid. As I finish this writing Charlie is finally in the air, but only has 30 minutes between touch down and take off. Will he make the connection?  Maybe…

Can Christmas still happen for Charlie and the rest of us if he happens to be somewhere else? Most assuredly…the choice is up to us, I guess. But, I’ll tell you what: I’m in God’s face asking for His mercy–I am Mom, after all. ;-)

PS–will update this blog later today with the latest, in case you’re interested. appreciate your prayers…

Update: Charlie made the connection and, after a delay, the plane took flight. He’s in the air!! He called on boarding to ask if he should be worried about pain behind his forehead and eyes–I told him to board…trusting it is a sinus thing. Also, he has had to sit next to a two year old–on both flights (would give anybody a headache :-). His flight is due in at 1:33pm CST. Whoohoo!! Thanks for the prayers!!

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