So, here I am, still sitting at the gate. It is 1:30 am and our flight has been cancelled. A small group of people begin to congregate around the customer service desk and I wonder, “Well, now what? So much for the tan I am supposed to get at the beach tomorrow.” At first, while I sort out my next game plan, I choose to sit patiently and remain hopeful my pale complexion will soon be exposed to sunlight. As the evening progresses, the clock ticks to 1:49am and then 2:15am. Soon, it is 2:38am and then the clock changes to 2:56am. My fellow passengers begin to choose less kind and empathetic feelings. They become impatience and less calm than they appeared to be three hours ago, and I notice that my patience too begins to wear thin. “Okay,” I say out loud, “What am I to learn from this experience?”
My answer comes quickly loud and clear: openness, flexibility, and patience. The Universe telling me to extend love; only love. So, instead of joining the flocks of people charging the ticket booth with harsh words and angry demands, I small talk with Dixie, a Tampa native trying to get home. Later, I wait in line with a beautiful, spunky red head (with her husband and three children in tow) whose name I never actually got. She and I instantly became partners in crime. Both on a mission to get vouchers for a hotel room even though the airline was not offering them to Colorado residents. I also watched a very disgruntled passenger complain incessantly and blame everyone else. I recognized this in him because I too have the ability to choose anger instead of compassion. However, rather than participating with or encouraging him by displaying even the smallest amount of approval, I smile from across the room in hopes that my unwillingness to speak unkindly to anyone will soon become contagious.
And I keep on smiling.
I am sure this man thought I was drunk. And let’s be honest, at this point I wouldn’t have turned down a drink…. or two… or three.
Now, it is almost 4:00am and I have finally made it to my hotel safely. I have exactly three hours and 15 minutes to sleep before I need to be awake and attempt another flight out of Denver. I quickly load my purse with as many free shampoo/conditioner bottles as I can find, text my dad who is already awake in Michigan, text my boyfriend who is definitely not awake in Evergreen and then fall into a (somewhat) deep slumber.
The next morning, as I depart my fancy hotel suite, I notice the shuttle driver has perhaps the most beautiful smile I have seen in a very long time. He reminds me of James Earl Jones from Field of Dreams and I think I should have asked for his autograph. On the bus, I sit next to my new friends, Joe and his two daughters. They are from Portland, OR and we rode to the hotel together the night before.
In this moment, my epiphany hits me again, bringing to light another reality. This Monday is not how I expected it to go. Like a big bad wolf huffing and puffing until he shatters my sturdy, safe home of expectations. Yes, that evening turned out to be anything but how I planned. I should already be on a beach by now, drinking a daiquiri with my sister, but the wolf has other plans.
You see, my wolf is teaching me that life is unpredictable. Life is also messy and funny and scary and oh so lovely. More importantly, life requires you to be open and flexible (reference: my first epiphany). The Yogi in me says: “Yes, you are already open and flexible…. Remember Sunday morning yoga class… you made that Side Crow your bitch.” The other part of me…the smarter part, reminds me that life rarely goes according to plan. God has my back and so does the Universe; always allowing for things to fall into place. So, maybe the lesson to be learned is: Don’t make a plan…
A friend near and dear to my heart always says that we choose how this life plays out. That we “create our own reality.” Well, I certainly don’t know why in the world I would choose this particular reality today. Furthermore, why would I have chosen the events from two nights ago when Ruby decided she was a flying puppy and should jump over fences? The fence ended up winning that particular challenge and Ruby ended up with six stitches, while I was a gifted a $400.00 vet bill as the grand prize. So, even though I do not recall hand picking out such an affair at the airport, I still have a choice in this moment. How did I want to perceive this experience? How shall I choose to react to my cancelled flight. I chose to see it as lovely, funny, adventurous, humorous and brilliant. I choose Love #everydamnday.
So, my epiphany at the airport was not just about making a choice, but it was a reminder that life is unexpected and not predictable with all its mishaps, bumps in the road and accidents waiting to happen. Instead of reacting on impulse, I became the observer. I observed those around me and observed my own reaction. I made friends with other travelers and smiled at the airline staff as much as possible…sincerely of course. It’s just life and Ruby teaches me daily that life is often easier than I make it out to be. In all of its complications, I am continuously filled with love and gratitude for all experiences. Experiences that are good, bad, and indifferent.
The next morning, while at the airport, I wait patiently for my next and second attempt to catch a flight. I chose happiness instead of grumpiness. I choose excitement instead of impatience. I chose love instead of fear, and I chose a half-caffeinated soy latte with no foam and an entire bag of chocolate covered espresso beans for breakfast. I definitely felt good about that decision, although the passenger next to me might disagree #chattykathy.
“If Life gives you lemons, make orange juice and leave the World wondering how you did it” -Anonymous