I bought a ticket, rental car and parking for a week so I could travel to Denver and inprocess to my new unit, as I had been instructed was necessary in person. I bought the ticket 9 days before lift-off, found out 4 days out that I could have done it over the phone. The ticket was non-refundable. So I decided to take a vacation.
I missed my 7:15 flight because I saw the landing time and kept thinking it was take-off.
I became standby for the next flight out to Denver out at 4:30 pm and, by the wonderful grace of God, was the only standby to make it onto the flight. Yes, I waited at the airport for 8 hours.
My phone died two minutes before landing in a way that despite plugging it into my computer and later the wall at Starbucks, it would not charge until almost 6 hours after I got to Highlands Ranch, Colo., and I bought a car charger from a local supermarket. Also, I did not have the address where I was staying nor had a way to call.
I drove around Denver from 6 pm to midnight trying to find the house by memory (which I came very, very close to several times by memory, I am happy to say). I finally got in at midnight and quickly hit the sack.
Okay, so July 18 was a long, frustrating day. I wanted to rail. I wanted to kick and bite. I was terrified it was somehow God letting me have my way and every consequence that usually entails. It wasn’t an easy day for me. But I can tell you that my focus throughout the day changed my outlook and memory of it.
I specifically chose to keep God’s presence and glory as my priority throughout the day. Every time I wanted to bitch, I stopped myself and prayed, or sang quietly, or just talked to him. I reminded myself that the important thing both in that day and in life wasn’t that I made a mistake by missing the flight or not turning my phone off properly while in flight, or that I would show up later than I had hoped. It wasn’t important that I was frustrated and that I wanted to be angry. What was important, however, was God.
Not an activity, or that God would do something for me, or in me, or through me. It wasn’t even his glory or the fact that he created me. It wasn’t even so much that I had health, funds and nice clothes, though I was grateful.
You see, if you remind yourself that the entire purpose of your existence is a relationship with God, it really puts everything else in its place. It matters so much less that I missed my flight or had to wait or my phone died when the purpose of the day, above every other, was to spend it with God. I spent my day with God, and while I didn’t do everything the way I wanted to do it (get there early, visit my new unit, hang out with a friend), I spent the entire day with God on my mind. I shared my frustration and my joy, my new friend I made in the terminal and driving around Denver late at night looking for a house I had only been to a few times and had actually gotten really close by memory from the opposite direction!
I joyed in the small things and left the rest up to God. Even as I write this, I’m reminded more of how not-bad the day actually was. At the time, it seemed frustrating, but how often in life do we feel something is so terribly difficult to endure and yet, in retrospect, we realize it wasn’t so difficult at all.
That difference that connects our souls to such peace is perspective. Why do older folks deal with drama and trouble so much better than younger? (usually) Because of perspective. The world is not over, tomorrow will come, and, most importantly, God is spending that day, that time, that moment with us.
He could be out doing countless other things, but he’d rather be spending his time with our shitty day. What makes it nice is remembering that He’s there. Think about when you endured something troublesome alone and then when you were with a friend. Wasn’t it easier when you were with someone else?
God wants to be that someone else. Next time you have such a frustrating day, just think about God helping you share that burden and being there with you through it. I can tell you from experience — it makes a BIG difference.