Sunday, June 6, 2010
Lead Me to the Cross
It was the month of December. I have been looking forward to my mom’s visit and finally it was here. In 10 years that I have been living in the US, I have seen my mom only 4 times so you can only imagine how eager I was to spend time with her. She was flying in to Atlanta, where I would pick her up and drive back to our mountain home. I hardly slept the night before her arrival and decided to drive early in the morning to Atlanta way before her flight was due to land. My phone rang and it showed that my mom was calling in. I thought she was calling to let me know that she was about to board the plane in Germany and is on her way to the US. However, I was wrong. In panic she told me that her flight was canceled due to heavy snow storm in DC and she does not know what she needs to do. A little fact, my mom does not speak any other language but Russian. I calmly told her that I would call airlines and reschedule her flight only to find out that the wait to speak to a representative was at least 40 minutes. Frantically I ran to the grocery store to buy a calling card so I could call my mom from our home phone. The day got worst when the calling card would not scan at the register and the manager told me there was nothing that he could do about it. “Great… can it get any worst?” I thought to myself. In tears I walked out of the store trying to figure out where else I can buy a calling card.
The card was the least of my concerns, all I wanted at that moment was for the customer service rep to pick up the phone and help me reschedule my mom’s flight. My body shook uncontrollably as I patiently waited. “God, please help!” I begged out loud. Psalm 39:12 say, "Hear my prayer, O LORD, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping”. Before too long customer service rep picked up my call and helped me reschedule my mom’s flight to depart the following morning. I stopped by another store, purchased a calling card and rushed back to the house to call my mom. She nervously answered the phone and was relieved to find out that her flight has been rescheduled. My mom is a very strong woman and in my lifetime I have seen her cry only a handful of times. However, during the next several days my mom and I cried more than ever before.
Tears began to fall down my face when I hung up the phone with my mom. I was sick to my stomach because I felt so helpless and could only imagine how my mom was feeling in a foreign country not knowing the language. The whole evening I pleaded with God and begged for the rest of the trip to go smoothly. I barely slept that night and periodically would call airline automated service to check if the flight was leaving on time. The phone’s ring woke me up bright and early. It was my mom calling to let me know that her flight was about to leave. Ahhhh…finally!!! My mom was on her way to the US and hopefully all our problems were now behind us.
Unfortunately all the problems followed my mom to the US. One hour before her flight was to depart from DC she called to let me know that she was standing in a long line to have her ticket re-printed because of the changed itinerary. There was no way she was going to make her flight on time. Because of the delays all the passengers had to wait for 3 hours before their luggage arrived on the conveyer belt. Hearing my mom cry just broke me apart and I couldn’t help but cry with her. Trying to speak to the customer service representative who was printing all the tickets in Washington, DC was unsuccessful. He wouldn’t even take my mom’s cell phone so I could explain the situation. I told my mom that I would have to call airline’s 1-800 number to see if anyone can help me on that end.
Help was nowhere to be found. I was so angry, upset and confused with airlines that I could barely speak. I also became angry with God. “Is this some kind of joke, God”, I said with bitterness. As I broke out in tears, I question if God was even listening to my cries. I became like a kid who was stumping and kicking because she didn’t get her way. Thankfully my God loves me just the way I am. Soon I was able to reach a representative and explain the situation only to be ignored. I asked to speak to a manager and was transferred to speak to the manager whose office was located in Hawaii. He reassured me that my mom has cleared the ticket booth but couldn’t promise that she was on the plane. At that point in time, her airplane was supposed to have been in the air. When I hung up the phone, I called my mom back just to learn that all the people in front of her were moved to a different line allowing her to re-print her ticket, check her luggage in and now she was running through the airport hoping that she could make it to her flight.
We later learned that the flight was delayed (that time I was very thankful for the delay) and she made it on time. We were still unsure if her flight will operate due to bad weather. “God, I beg you, please don’t let it be canceled”, I prayed earnestly. I was already informed by the customer service rep that if they cancel this flight it may be days before they could put my mom on another flight. Now we just had to wait. Every second felt like an hour. I decided to call and find out the status of the flight from the customer service rep instead of automated service that updates only every 30 minutes. I was informed that the wait for the next available representative was 50 minutes, so I turned the phone speaker on and waited patiently. All of a sudden 45 minutes in to the waiting my phone’s battery died. After laughing hysterically for 5 minutes, I began to weep again. As soon as I put the phone on the charger, it rang. That time it was my husband calling to receive an update on the situation and I couldn’t answer the phone to let him know what was going on.
Finally the phone charged enough that I was able to call my husband back, who was traveling from Canada. As soon as I hung up the phone, it rang again. It was my mom letting me know that she is about to depart DC into her newly scheduled route to Greenville. I jumped and jumped and jumped and then jumped again from happiness. Finally I will get to see my mom! “Thank you, God, for answering my prayer”, I shouted. Quickly I slipped on my shoes and took off to the airport just to find out through the airline agent that the airplane have not left the DC yet. “And here we go again” was my response to the agent. I wanted someone to pinch me, so that I could wake up from this nightmare. I couldn’t understand why we had to go through this. Why can’t everything just run smoothly as it was planed? Isaiah 55:8 say, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD”.
I kept on telling myself with eyes glued to the flight information screen that everything was going to be fine. And it was, the flight departed and in no time my mom landed in Greenville safely. After hugging we went to pick up her luggage just to learn because of the changed itinerary, the agent forgot to reroute her luggage, but that’s another story. Several days later my mom in details explained her trip to me.
My mom shared with me that she met a college student from Russia, while she had a delay at a German airport. The student took care of my mom by adding additional phrases in English to her translation list and walked her to the gate as she boarded the plane. In Washington DC my mom paired us with the American girl, who gave my mom Tylenol to help her with her headache. Oh and when my mom finally cleared the ticket counter in DC she noticed that a gentleman in front of her had the same gate so they ran together to catch the flight. At one point she said, “I know that angels were all around me.” This came from a woman who does not believe in God. It all came together for me as my mom shared how each person and different events were strategically placed on her path during her travel. That was designed by my Mighty God. After realizing the work of God’s crafty hands, I felt guilty for throwing my tantrums. Even though I never want to go through airline ordeal again, I was thankful that God used this situation to reveal to my mom that He is bigger than any customer service representative or a gigantic airplane. Because I couldn’t see the future, instead of trusting God, I let the fear of unknown rule over me. Romans 8:28 say, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”. And I will hold on to His promise.