“We are most deeply asleep at the switch when we fancy we control any switches at all. We sleep to time’s hurdy-gurdy; we wake, if we ever wake, to the silence of God.” Annie Dillard
I am supposed to be in Istanbul right now. So for those of you wanting a recap of my past day (and a look into my next few days) here it is.
My flight from Indianapolis was delayed because of storms in Atlanta, but I board the flight only 45 minutes later than scheduled and all was well. My window seat is nice. I get to look out on the Neighborhood of Make Believe, or what seemed to be, with the tiny cars and all. And I read.
“That’s a great book,” says the woman next to me, who looks like Diane Keaton.
Jayber Crow. “Yeah! I’ve read half of it already, but it’s been a while so I thought I’d start from the beginning.” For some reason I tell strangers more than they need to know, or care to know. I spend the rest of the flight trying to guess her profession. (English education.)
When we approach Atlanta, the captain announces that the storms would keep us from landing. We hover over the airport for a while (I don’t know if planes really hover; I just imagine it like that) then fly 180 miles west to Huntsville, Alabama where we sit. On the plane. For over an hour.
Meanwhile I’m sending text messages to Daniel, another intern, who’s at the Atlanta airport waiting for our flight. He keeps me updated on delays. I tell him I think I’ll make it back just in time; he tells me the captain announced that they’re waiting for our plane to get in before taking off.
We make it to Atlanta by about 5:00. The captain on my plane asks for only those who needed to catch flights to get up and get off. Everyone gets up and gets off. I’m in the back of the plane. I squeeze in front of Diane Keaton and shuffle off the plane and begin looking for Gate T3. Other side of the airport? Awesome. I run. (Power walk.) I huff and puff all the way across Atlanta’s airport only to find out that I just missed the flight.
Breathe, girl. In and out. In and out.
I wait in line to get my flight changed. Turns out the next flight isn’t until 4:20 p.m. the next day.
[I'll fast forward through my minor freak out, eating dinner, paying $10 for Internet access and getting a call from Jessica who asks me to fly in a day later even so I can arrive with Lydia, another intern.]
I wait in that long line again to talk to Draga, the Delta exec. I talked to the first time I was in this line. The one who told me that I couldn’t get on a flight until Saturday evening.
Me: Is it okay if I fly in a day later?
Draga: No, we can’t do that.
Me: But the people I’m meeting can’t pick me up any earlier.
Draga: Sigh. Talk to her. (Points to woman next to her.)
After this woman finishes talking to the most adorable elderly couple, who speak only Italian, I ask if I can move my flights back a day.
Woman: Of course you can. (Click-click-click of her computer.)
Me: And can I get a hotel for tonight?
Woman: Yes. It will be free for tonight, but will cost you tomorrow. You’ll have to ride back on the shuttle to get another voucher.
Me: Okay. Thank you. And how do I get to the shuttle?
Woman: I’ll take you there myself.
Nicest woman ever. At least compared to Draga.
I wait outside for my shuttle. Finally it hits me that I’m in Georgia – what a pretty state. I remember thinking that as we flew above it a few hours before. The sky is a pinkish blue color now; the weather is 70 degrees and breezy. I get into my shuttle and daydream about perusing the town for a cute coffee shop.
The driver asks where I’m headed – Days Inn. He calls me Days Inn Girl the rest of the trip. I tip him two dollars because I like my new nickname.
I spend the rest of the night either laughing on the phone with Molly or sobbing on the phone with my mom. I am one emotional cookie. We were having issues changing my flight out of Istanbul. But $600 later, we get it figured out.
Earlier this week I was thinking about the book of Job and how maybe we try to find hidden truths within it, truths that aren’t really there. We take verses out of context; we try to figure out what God means about this and if it justifies that. But if we look too deep, if we look too hard at the details, we might miss the big picture.
It’s a simple story: Job has it rough, but things end up okay.
Maybe the conversation between Satan and God was metaphorical. Maybe Satan didn’t do the taking away; maybe life happened. And maybe Job thought he had everything under control and he realized he didn’t. Maybe God needed to talk some sense into Job in the end, to call him out in the middle of the storm – in the middle of the chaos – to say, “Job. You’re not a god. You can’t control everything. Let go and trust me.”
I’m not saying that the story isn’t literal – I don’t want to cause a theological debate. But if we look at the story of Job in its purest form, we see a guy who’s met conflict, didn’t handle it right, but still made it through in the end.
I see myself like him.
What happens to Job will happen to me. I have experienced conflict, yes. I’ve handled it wrong too. But I’m going to be okay.
So far, so good.
Iraq, here I come.
(Just later than expected.)