I am headed to Denver this morning — and no, that’s not where I meant to/was supposed to go today.
I was headed to Baltimore, then Cleveland, before I arrived at the airport five minutes after they closed the boarding door and my plane left without me.
When I woke up 45 minutes late, I knew this would be no usual, uneventful or simple day.
As I stood there looking longingly at the empty gate area, huffing and puffing from brisk walking, all I could hear was my great Aunt Sue, who always had to be at the train depot (she didn’t fly) two hours early, because “the train and the plane don’t wait on you.”
Lesson 1 today: They absolutely, positively do not! Neighbors and friends might honk and wait, but trains and planes do not.
For some reason, I think about heaven every time I arrive and the door to the plane/bank/post office/whatever is closed, or while I’m standing nervously while a receptionist scans a list for my name, but doesn’t find it.
Some Bible stories you forget — the one about the virgins and the wedding isn’t one of them.
You remember? Some were wise and others were foolish and they needed lamps and oil for the trip. The wise brought both, the foolish brought lamps but no oil.
As they waited, oil got low and the prepared ones replenished and continued visiting with friends and loved ones.
The foolish needed to replenish their lamps, but because they hadn’t brought any extra oil, they had to go buy more when their friends wouldn’t share.
While they were gone, the wedding started and they were left outside the door, all dressed up and they, too, had to head to Denver.
Well, it wasn’t exactly like that, since Denver hadn’t been created yet, but I believe no experience is wasted if you learn from it. Here are three more lessons for today:
Lesson 2: Aunt Sue was right. Denver was beautiful, but way off course. My original plan gave me a beautiful day for traveling and scenery; instead almost 12 hours later, it was dark, rainy and difficult to see.
Life can be like that, too. Baseball great and philosopher Yogi Berra puts it this way: “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
Yogi is right. Even if you know where you’re going, you still might end up somewhere else; but with a plan, you’re more likely to reach your original destination on time.
Pay attention — preparation and planning trump good intentions every time.
Lesson 3: Even if you end up someplace else, enjoy the scenery and be thankful for the journey.
Today’s scenic route included not just Denver, but Oklahoma City and St. Louis, too.
I’ve been taking roads less travelled this year, though this gave new meaning to it, so I just trusted God that there was some reason, some blessing I was supposed to get along this path.
I was right. I met nice people, had a beautiful lunch, and enjoyed some reading and reflection time.
Lesson 4: Take responsibility for your actions. The plane did what it was supposed to do — I did not.
So often, we want to blame others for our poor planning, for getting “our promotion,” whatever, when our role is where we should start the analysis and examination.
Pamela, the gate agent, was kind and simply helped me rebook. Imagine how much nicer our world would be if we all relaxed and went to Denver more often.
(The Denver Chamber of Commerce paid no promotional fees for this free advertising.)
CYNTHIA A. BOND HOPSON, Ph.D., of Cordova is a native Tennessean, educator, author and mentor. She and her husband, Roger, lived in Paris twice. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook@drbondhopson.