Life as a River
The gory details.
Left the house at 8:30 pm Sunday night for Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport and my trip to West Africa Theological Seminary - my 15th trip in the past four years. Check in at the new International terminal - through security and to the gate as usual.
Board the plane at 10:00 pm - Which is always a little like a cattle call - especially going to Nigeria - where the "We are pre-boarding'" announcement means EVERYONE must get up and hurry to gate - giving NO attention to the pleas to "take your seat - this is pre-boarding only". Now that WAS expected.
Sit next to a gentleman who is on his way to Nigeria where he is building a golf course. Now that was NOT expected - A Golf course in Nigeria?
Nice conversation etc., as we are a bit late leaving the gate. (Something about a first class passenger in the restroom, and not being able to get them to return to their seat). Now that WAS expected - especially flying to Nigeria..
"We are next in line for take-off , attendants please take your seats". Ten minutes later - "We have a light we are checking on, and will let you know shortly. Twenty minutes (20) later, "We have good news and bad news - The good news, the light can be fixed, the bad news is that we have to return to the gate to fix it." Now that was NOT expected.
It is now 1:00 am (Been on board for 3 hours) and we are still sitting at the gate. Captain comes on and says they are still working on the problem. Also indicates that the attendant crew will need to be replaced, and a new crew is on their way. We will keep you posted. and appreciate your patience. Now that was NOT expected.
Current Score: Expected = 2 Not Expected = 3
At 3:00 am the Captain comes on and says that everyone will need to exit the plane as they do not feel it is safe to fly across the Atlantic. They have another plane coming and will let us know just as soon as it gets here, and we will be on our way. Now that was NOT expected.
At this point, upon exiting the plane, I asked the gate agent if he knew what time they were estimating to take off? He told me that they were hoping for 5 am, but "between you and me, it will probably be closer to 9 am". (It was in fact 9:06 am that the flight actually took off) Now that was NOT expected.
Unlike most of the passengers on this flight - I live within 15 minutes of the airport. And unlike most of the passengers on this flight, I had other options. And probably, unlike most if not all of the passengers on this flight - I had been through EXACTLY the same experience 20 months previously (with my friends Jim F and Eddy B). We had arrived in Lagos at Midnight Lagos time, and sat in the WATS vehicle until 4:30 am when it was safe to travel - arriving at the WATS Guest House at 6 am (27 hours total travel time). So I cancelled my flight, was able to retrieve my checked luggage, called my wife and came home. Before crawling into bed I called and rescheduled my flight to Tuesday night. It was now 5 am. Needless to say that was NOT expected.
Current Score: Expected = 2 Not Expected = 6 (I am starting to notice a trend here)
I got lots of rest on Monday and awoke Tuesday ready to leave Tuesday Night. Received an email from the Airlines that the seats I had 'reserved' were not actually available. WHAT? Now that was NOT expected. Score now 2 to 7.
Called the Airlines (after praying for peace and patience) and after a lengthy conversation with 'a supervisor', rescheduled my flight for Wednesday Night and confirmed my seat assignments. That was NOT expected - but by now it was okay. WHY?
At this point, I don't know the reason why, but I do trust God in everything - and I am doing my best to THANK HIM for it all - the EXPECTED and the UNEXPECTED.
Obviously, as I write this, I have not yet made it to West Africa Theological Seminary for my "Assignment". I EXPECT to arrive there on Thursday the 24th and will be there through October 5th. This I can count on, unless of course, there are other events UNEXPECTED. But in ALL THINGS I WILL GIVE THANKS TO GOD.
7982 Hillcrest Trail
Jonesboro, Georgia 30236