As I was planning to write this one today I will. But, not an easy decision because the concept that I want to communicate is being sorely tried and tested in my heart and life right now. It is November when I am writing this and what should have been a 30 hour trip from my home city to Kazakhstan has become a three and a half day extravaganza. I am currently in Frankfort, Germany and it is 8:30a – I am waiting to board a flight to Kazakhstan at noon, I hope.
The reason I say “I hope” is because of what has transpired in the past few days. I left home on Monday at noon for a 2:30 flight. The flight left at 4:45 and so I missed my connection in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. No explanation as to why plane was late. No apologies either. A huge line to rebook and got on the overseas flight the next day. That meant a hotel and three meals out. My medical condition caused a reaction to the first meal at the hotel even though I was really careful as I know to be after 30 years of the problem. So, skipped the next two meals to stabilize this old body.
Arrived at the airport the next day (when I should have been in Germany) and managed a good meal and no reactions. On the plane. Up, up, and away. Not! They could not get the doors to the baggage department to close so we sat on board for three hours – count them – before the problem was solved. The man next to me was going ballistic and freaking out because he was going to miss his connection. Join the line, fella as 95% of those on the flight were connecting in Frankfort to go somewhere else. So we leave four hours late and arrive 3.5 hours after the only flight to my final destination leaves.
Yes, I am stuck in Frankfort for the night. This time it was a “weather related problem” so they don’t cover the meals or the hotel. Weather related – stupid! Every other flight was taking off – how about a mechanical problem and so Air Canada should cover the cost. No way! Restaurant at the hotel a no go! Vending machines had nothing I could eat. Nothing in walking distance. To bed hungry … after a 12 hour flight during which I could eat absolutely nothing they served. Did I mention that the airline just didn’t bother with the special meals that were ordered with the tickets.
So, now back at the airport and it is 8:00 in the morning and I am having a coffee at McDonalds because the hotel room did not even have a coffee maker or a way to boil water for tea (I carry my own tea bags). Found a shop to buy some fruit and nuts and so having a speciality breakfast of my own creation attempting to stabilize my body which was having some major problems due to lack of food and food at the proper times. Then, of all things, a reaction to the McDonald’s coffee which use to be safe for me to drink.
I am hopeful that the last leg of this trip will actually happen today – and that I can arrive (two days late) to teach in the nation of Kazakhstan as planned. Poorer financially but practicing what I preach.
All the way through these four days (Monday to Thursday) I have kept my cool outwardly and actually inwardly. I have practiced being content and not discontent. I have practiced being thankful for the small mercies each day has brought – a warm bed, people to witness to, a Blackberry to communicate with loved ones, BBC News to stay informed, a good book or two or now three, book stores to locate more reading material, loved ones praying for me and a God who is faithful.
I am sure it was much more difficult for Paul the apostle in his travels throughout the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel and disciple the believers. However, he is my example when I get into situations like this. No matter what situation he was in he was content – thankful, at peace. He mentions several times in his writings that he was content with whatever the Lord allowed to come his way – permitted to happen in his life. I coined a phrase for this attitude many years ago – “Father-filtered.”
Here is my understanding. God is all powerful and in total control – He is Omnipotent and sovereign to use theological words. So, He could have prevented all this from happening but didn’t. He could have filtered this out of my life experience as I am sure He has done with many things over the years of protecting me, guiding and directing me. But He didn’t and so I need to be “content” with what He has allowed or permitted and “go with the flow” learning what He wants me to learn and seeing truths about myself I would otherwise have missed.
So, throughout these three/four days (12 time zones can play havoc with your sense of time and days) I have been content and at peace – it is a discipline that has been seriously tested but it has remained intact. I have enjoyed reading three books, writing blogs, talking with people, learning some German, and even sleeping a bit more than normal. But, I must admit I am looking forward to arriving and getting into some clean clothes as I have not seen my luggage since I left home and clean clothes and a shave would be nice right now – 15 more hours and we will be reintroduced if it has managed to arrive at the same time I do.
Well, the fruit, cheese and cashew nuts are all done – as is the coffee (I do not like coffee in Europe as even McDonald’s coffee is different). So, the blog must be done as well. Thanks for sharing my breakfast with me. And remember, be content. It’s a daily choice we have to make, isn’t it?