Flying. It’s not being a bazillion feet up in the air that bothers me. It’s not taking off or landing. I don’t even mind a little turbulence. It’s the window or middle seat that get me. I hate being boxed in and feeling like I can’t get up when I want to without bothering someone…unless it’s a family member or a friend…I will bother them all day long. But a stranger? This stresses me out. I know, it’s crazy and I hope to get help for this soon, but for now, I struggle.
So I recently went to visit my daughter in DC – a long flight from Orange County, California. This flight was not a direct flight either, so that meant two seats to worry about. And because I was flying on short notice, all the aisle seats were taken on both flights. So I prayed.
Lord, please let an aisle seat open up. You know how I get. You know how important it is to go visit my daughter. You know I don’t want to end up on the nightly news because I caused the plane to turn around due to my freak out in the middle seat. Please, Lord, see what you can do.
I got to the airport and approached my gate only to see people, and more people, and could all these people possibly fit on our plane? I began to approach the airline service representative, who didn’t look too enthusiastic about her job, when I noticed the scrolling message in lights above her head on the gate information board –
This flight is full. No seat changes.
Great. No point in even asking Miss Sourpuss – the expression on her face and the message above her just shouted, “Don’t even ask!”
So I prayed.
Okay, Lord, switching seats is not looking very good right now. I know it is in your power to do ANYTHING, but apparently there is some reason you don’t want to answer my prayer for an aisle seat. That’s okay Lord, sort of. I have medication. I will use it. I won’t be a martyr. I am not sure it will completely help with my anxiety, but let’s give it a try, Lord.
And I waited to board. And I prayed some more.
Lord, if this aisle seat thing isn’t going to work out, could you help me to at least be around compassionate people? Let me have nice, compassionate people around me. That would really help. And Lord, if I can do something for you by being able to help someone else, even though you and I both know that I am the one in desperate need here, well, Lord, if you would give me that opportunity, I will try my best to be a blessing.
I got on the plane and found my seat. The window seat was occupied by a nice looking younger woman who seemed so friendly and pleasant. Good start. And so far no one was in the aisle seat.
Could it be, Lord? Could it possibly be that the person next to me, on the aisle, won’t show up? Miracle of miracles??
Just then a quiet man with a slight build slipped into the coveted aisle seat. Well, at least he looked nice. Maybe he could even be compassionate.
Wait, what’s this? The flight attendant has asked the slight, quiet, possibly compassionate man to change seats with another passenger. Moving into his seat is a big man, with tattoos on every limb (he was wearing shorts, so I know this to be true) and he had his lip pierced and eyebrow and ears. He was quiet, too, but I wasn’t so sure about the compassionate part. Until my window seat companion and I began to share our anxiety about flying. She, like me, didn’t like to be boxed in. She, like me, was okay when she had a buddy to fly with but was anxious otherwise.
And here she was in a window seat! At that moment we decided that we could take the guy on the aisle if we needed to if turned out to be less than compassionate. After talking in a voice loud enough to be heard, we both peeked to see how our aisle companion took the news – he smiled! He nodded in agreement! He wasn’t going to give us any problems – could it be he was compassionate? Yes! Though a man of few words, he also seemed to share the same dislike of being boxed in that we did. Flight buddies!
We took off, three happy flight buddies, well, at least two happy flight buddies. I looked at my aisle companion and noticed him trying to figure out how to make the in-flight satellite television work.
“Have you ever been on a flight with one of these?” I asked.
“No,” he said, obviously curious.
“You are going to love it! It will make the time go by so much faster! Do you have any headphones?”
“No.” He looked seriously dejected.
“Well, I actually threw in an extra pair, brand new, you are welcome to use them. But, I gotta warn ya, they’re pink.”
And they were. Pink on the ear buds, pink wire all the way down. My big, tattoo loving aisle companion didn’t seem to mind. I got him all set up with the headphones, a couple of snacks, and now we had three happy flight buddies – though it was hard not to smile at the big guy with the pink headphones.
When our plane landed, he handed back the headphones and said, quite sincerely, “Thank you. That was such a nice thing to do.” Or something to that effect.
“Do you have a connecting flight?” I asked.
“Yes, I do.”
I knew his next flight buddy would appreciate the sight and I know my new friend would appreciate the headphones.
Lord, you do know best. I ask, but you know which prayers to answer. You can do anything – you could have opened up an aisle seat for me. But you had a better plan. A plan that blessed me and blessed others. Thank you.