Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Flying irritations

A very long day of travel yesterday.  After a wonderful buffet lunch at my sister's favorite Indian restaurant in Ventura, we went to the beach and sat in the sand, watching the Pacific ebb and flow in all its perfect majesty.  Sigh.  Then she drove to LAX, where I waited for my one-stop flight home.

As I sat waiting to board, I tried to read.  However, there was a major disturbance right by the gate I'd have to walk through.  A two-year-old little girl, who in other circumstances would be completely adorable with her nappy hair pulled into several springy pigtails, was throwing a fit.  Crying, screaming and literally pounding her arms and legs on the floor, when she wasn't hitting the young man holding a doll over her head.  it's pretty hard to concentrate with that kind of noise going on, even when the book is as compelling as The Rasputin File.

I boarded the plane, sat down in my seat and watched as this young man and his now loudly talking and pointing little girl walked past me.  As more and more people filed on, it became clear that I was alone in my row--not a sorry state of affairs.  But just before the doors were shut, inexplicably, an attendant helped this young man and two-year-old move into my row.  The young man said, "I'm taking her back to her mom...not a moment too soon, either."  The little girl was his daughter who doesn't normally live with him.  He'd taken her to meet his mother in LA--a mother who, he told me, hoards plastic bottles and aluminum cans in her house so that the house always looks like a recycling center, with every surface completely covered.  His daughter allowed for our conversation just so long, then just after take-off, became louder and louder, her voice indecipherable to me, now that I'm not fluent in baby-talk.  Then the talk became yells, then screams.  About that time, my nose began to drip, and I grabbed a kleenex...and discovered that I was having a bloody nose. In the middle of trying to tip back my head, holding kleenex to my nostril, block out the baby's screams...another passenger tapped me on the shoulder and told me that the seat behind her was completely vacant. Without another thought, I dropped the kleenex, grabbed my stuff and moved.  Fortunately, the seats on Alaska airlines are leather because by the time I moved into my new seat, there was a drop of blood on the middle seat.  Sigh.  I managed to get my nose to stop bleeding about the time the crying two year old was joined by two other toddlers also screaming hysterically.

It was a relief to land in Seattle, with just enough time to catch my flight home.  As I waited, one rather large purple-shirted man was holding court in the waiting area.  His voice carried to all and sundry whether we were interested in his job, his vacation in Hawaii, his great investments or not.  As I walked to my flight I was happy to note that purple-shirt walked up the front stairs while my seat was in the back, requiring me to enter from the back door.  However (you know where this is going, don't you?), when I entered the plane, looking for my 20A seat, who do you think was sitting in 20B?  Right first time.  Turns out the man across the aisle (whom I actually recognized as someone who used to go to our church, was once the employer of one of my friends' daughter--and quite a difficult employer at that) is also an entrepeneur, so they  engaged in what was essentially a pissing contest (as boys of all sizes are wont to do!).

The good news...the really good news is that all these kefuffles completely, utterly  distracted me from feeling panicked about flying.  Isn't that great?  Not exactly the peace I might have wished for, but I really sensed His peace in it.  Not the peace the world wishes for, in which there is no conflict, but His peace, that overcomes the conflicts.  The peace that transcends human understanding.  My greatest fear completely overcome by things that most people would only see as irritating.  But that's God for you.  Never working the way we might expect, but working none the less.

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