Due to the overwhelming generosity of my employer, I was going home for Christmas. For a full week. My entire family would be in Tennessee for Christmas and I couldn’t get there fast enough. I had missed the previous Christmas with my family because we had spent it with my ex-husband’s family (which I was totally cool with…marriage is all about compromises). Let’s also remember that at this point I was grasping at straws to pull this marriage back together, so I begged my ex-husband to come home with me for Christmas. After all, we were married. We should spend Christmas together. Right? Isn’t that how it works? Surprise surprise, he refused to spend Christmas in Tennessee. Was I disappointed? Yes. Did this stop me from joyfully planning my escape from the hell I was living in? Absolutely not.
After work I hopped a cab to the airport, checked my bag, went through security, had an adult beverage, and watched in horror as my flight kept getting delayed again and again until finally it was cancelled. My heart sank. Hell, no…I would not accept defeat. I was flying home to the safety of my family and that was that. I rebooked (along with the rest of New York City) my flight for the next morning. I had two options: spend the night at the airport, or go home and come back in the morning. Oddly enough, I chose to go home. I don’t remember why. When I walked in the door, exhausted and disheveled, my ex-husband didn’t seem at all pleased to see me. I’m sure I had disrupted whatever plans he had for himself that evening, but alas, he was stuck with me. I remember saying to him, “The bright side is we get one more night together before we are apart for Christmas!” My poor little naïve self just couldn’t give up the hope that a Christmas miracle would occur. The man did not want me there. He’d made it perfectly clear. I just didn’t want to see it.
The next morning, I headed back to the airport. I prayed God would have mercy on me and give me uneventful flights. I think God had bigger fish to fry that day. I couldn’t get a direct flight to Tennessee, so I was headed to Dallas for a layover and then on to Nashville. I’ll never understand flight plans. Why must one travel so far west to eventually head back east? But I digress. The upside to this ordeal is that I got bumped up to first class. So, here I was, sitting in first class with the knowledge that home was in my future. And then, when all seemed to be going well, we had to suddenly make an emergency landing in Kansas City. I honestly can’t remember what was wrong with the plane. I just know that this was terrible news for making my connecting flight. Tears started to form in my eyes. The precious woman sitting next to me asked if I was ok…and then I blurted out everything. I kept saying, “I have to get home. I HAVE to get home.” I don’t think this woman knew exactly what to do with me, so she called over the airline stewardess. Through tears I explained to her exactly why it was so important that I make this connecting flight. I swear, by the end everyone in first class hated my ex-husband and had begun praying that divine intervention would occur and I would miraculously make it home.
The stewardess (attendant? I don’t know what the politically correct term is…) kept making me one Bloody Mary after another. She didn’t know what else to do. She made sure I knew exactly how to get to the gate I needed to be at in Dallas. We all knew the odds of me making it were slim. Everyone was gracious enough to let me be the first person off the plane…and then, honey, I ran like hell. In retrospect it reminds me of that scene in HOME ALONE when everyone is trying to make their flight. Well, that was me. Running like a mad woman through the Dallas airport. I should have missed my flight. The monitors told me I would miss my flight. But I kept running. I made it to the gate and wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles…they were still boarding. I plopped my sweaty, tear stained self in my seat and prayed prayers of gratitude the entire flight to Tennessee.
And then, when I got off the plane, there he was. My father. Waiting for me. Knowing that somehow I’d make it back to them. Never giving up hope that his daughter would figure out a way to come home. A way to feel safe. A way to find solace in the souls that loved her. Because he’s known all along that she was a fighter. Even when she forgot.
Genesis 28:15 “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”