On flight #1072 from Canton to Tampa my daughter had her first “cry on a plane” incident.
Last year we flew to Ohio for my husband’s grandfather’s funeral & on the way home a funny thing happened (well it wasn’t funny to me at the time). This being flight #10 in her extensive flying career at the ripe old age of 8 months I was sure we were golden by now but the flight departed around 9am and we woke her up around 4:30am, so she was pretty cranky by the time we sat in our seats. She cried for maybe 5 minutes and I was horrified thinking we are “those people” on the plane that everyone hates! Luckily after 5 minutes she was passed out and fast asleep for the rest of the flight. My father in law said I was more bothered than anyone else around us. Phew.
What this experience did was jog a memory of a 15 hour flight I took back in December of 2010…..
I was leading a trip (while pregnant) to Zimbabwe of a team of people from our church. The flight was South African Airways flight #0204 from Orlando to Johannesburg, and I learned 2 very very valuable lessons on it. For hours and hours and hours and hours, a toddler screamed in the seat across from me! Literally I could not sleep, relax or even concentrate on watching my movies. I was MAD. 15 hours flights are not that bad if you can sleep, watch movies and relax but I wasn’t able to do any of those things or even move seats for that matter! I cannot tell you how many times I looked up in total anger at the mother. Why are you not able to calm him down? He must be exhausted by now? What is wrong with him? What is wrong with you? PLEASE- Jesus make him sleepy!!!! I would go in waves of mad at mom and praying that God would make this baby fall asleep! At some point I answered my own prayer and fell asleep. When I woke up I immediately noticed there was no screaming. I looked across to the seat I had eyed so many times before in anger and what I saw slapped me in the face. One of the women from MY team was sitting, talking to her while another woman from MY team has taken the child for a walk through the isles! I cannot express the shame that overcame me. As the “leader” I was supposed to be leading by example and I had totally missed my first opportunity! I was so eager to rest up for the destination, I had overlooked the journey.
Two things I took away from that experience on flight #0204:
1- The mission can be right in front of us but if we are too busy “preparing” for the mission, we can completely miss it!
2- You NEVER know what someone is going through. The story turns out that this woman was not even the child’s mother. She was just traveling with him to take him to a relative. She was baffled, completely exhausted, and extremely grateful for the help our team provided.
Of course when we had time to de-brief after our arrival I shared my boo-boo with the team and praised them for being so attentive. The irony of this story is, we were traveling to Africa to work with orphans (many of which turned out to be the same age as this child) & this child needed exactly what I had stepped on the plane to do. Be loved on. I still tear up a bit when I think about it. Not because I am still ashamed but rather because of how grateful I am for grace and love. The grace and love of God and that same grace and love we receive from people in our lives at the exact times we need it most.
Trust me-I have made many mistake since and have many stories yet to share 🙂
Hope you enjoy the journey with us,
A shot of our amazing team