I recently just wrapped up a month long tour in Europe. It was beautiful, captivating, and many a time beyond words. I found myself falling in love with the various cultures and people, making new friends with every city I stepped foot into. Yet, when it was all said and done, all I could imagine was my very own bed for me to gloriously face plant into.
So, here we were, all packed up and at the airport. My large group dwindled from many to few as we all said our goodbyes 'til the next adventure. Navigating Heathrow airport wasn't so difficult this time, with very few turns and stops, but there was still a frantic race against time to make my gate. I sprinted because the ticketing counter had held us for much too long with vigorous discussion about allowing instruments on the plane. I may have unintentionally collided with more than my fair share of fellow passengers as I bulldozed through droves of people, mimicking a linebacker plowing into the other linemen to tackle the quarterback, but then kept running because he realized he had forgotten he had to use the restroom. Breathing frantically whilst a disheveled mess I had made my gate, handed my ticket over and made my way to what would be my bed for the next twelve hours.
While awkwardly scooting through the long, tight seat aisles of seats, something felt strange, off and ominous, as if there was a presence looming over me to beckon my attention the whole flight; yet I couldn't pin what was giving me the terrible feeling. Was it the middle seat that I was settling into? No, with a glass of wine I should be asleep in no time. Was it the snappy flight giving me attitude because I am American? No, I've definitely handled that before. What could it be? Then it dawned on me, the rustling of packed lunches, the high pitched laughter, the array of various crayons spilling into the aisle.. I had found myself placed in front of three children, with parents who had clearly stopped trying to bring peace about two hours before they even arrived at the airport.
I figured, "Alright, well it'll be ok, they'll be asleep in no time." But loaded up on sugar, they began to prod and kick each other in a rhythmic dance of shouts and elementary slurs; the victim caught in the middle being the back of my seat. They'd rip the controller from under the seat monitor and try and shove it in over and over again to no avail. They would grip the back of my seat to get up and would pull my hair because it was leverage. They'd reach through the seat and try and push my arm off so that they could get a space for their feet. I may have dreamed of some magnificent bird creature colliding with our plane, ripping a hole in the roof and yanking the whole family out, carrying them to another destination far away from ours, but I kept it together. Fast forward to twelve hours later where I found myself an even bigger mess, ready to almost collapse while standing from fatigue alone (that and the three glasses of wine that had absolutely no affect on the plane against the rambunctiousness of these children). I couldn't fault them, they're kids, they honestly didn't know any better, and the parents were clearly at the end of their rope. I was agitated, but chose to face my next nemesis cresting its ugly smile over the horizon. Jet lag, here I come.
One of my roommates arrives and we head home. I vent my agitation from the trip over the cadence of honking horns and agitated yells from surrounding Los Angeles traffic, and before I know it, we were all caught up and I was back in my apartment. Man...only 8 o clock at night. I was determined to try and be in bed by 1am to try and get a jump on jet lag not catching up to me, but something interesting happened. I devoured my In n Out burger and sat on the couch for a good hour, but my eyelids, they were so heavy it felt like my face needed to be a power lifter to keep them even slightly open. Somehow I dragged myself up the stairs and into my bed, cuddled with my little pup. Next thing I know, I'm opening my eyes, and it's 9am. What?! Where did the time go? This was a little too strange...
So, that day passes, and just when I'm ready to fight jet lag again, I'm in bed before 2am, and up and about around 9am again. Rinse and repeat just about every single day for a week... How strange. I've NEVER had to not fight jet lag. Maybe I'm just that acclimated to travel? Or perhaps I have learned some freakish mutant ability to lull myself to sleep? Oh crap. Wait... Those kids. They kept me up the whole flight, pushing me past the point of exhaustion, and that tallied up to what? Apparently it tallied up to me conquering jet lag in one day. These children were the terrible ushers of magnificent blessing. Because of their terrible ability to irritate I was immediately back into riding my normal time zone back home.
Once I realized this I couldn't help but laugh to myself, but that's when I felt wisdom trickle onto my mind (that or I was standing too close to an open rain gutter). How many times do we walk through terrible things in our own lives, feeling as if they never end, and somehow that situation has prepared us for something even greater? How many times do we neglect to realize that the terrible season we're presently walking through is all setup to prepare us for an extremely positive outcome in our favor?
Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you...plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
I've come to learn that though I'm in a terrible situation, I'm never going to stop in it. I'm not going to stop until that situation evolves into something good. I remember listening to a sermon by Kris Vallotton from Bethel Church, where he brings up Psalm 23:4, "Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me..." He mentions that we walk through it, not sit and setup camp there. And he's absolutely right. When we're in our toughest moments we need to realize that we're not done yet, not according to God. Romans 8:28 says, "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." Did you catch that? God works all things for good. He works all things, good, bad, awesome, terrible. So, if it's not good yet, keep going because you're not done.
Are you walking out heart break? If it's not a good thing yet then you're not done, and it's on its way. Are you suffering from a sickness or medical issue? If it's not good yet then you and God aren't done. Keep in mind, I definitely understand the depth to many terrible things that could be happening, but what I'm hoping to do is instill hope that you can grasp onto. There will be a better day, and though it may not feel immediate, it can and will come. That may even just be in how you decide to view your situation. Maybe even stepping away and taking a second to analyze it from the outside in, things aren't as bad as you thought they were.
Just like those kids being annoying destroyed my jet lag, your situation could be what propels you into something great. Wherever you are today, take a moment to consider that you have something good on the way. You have something amazing at your door step, and though that may seem ages away, it still is on it's way. Take some time and just breathe, realize that you are worth something good coming your way. You are worth a blessing, a miracle, love that you felt has been missing.
Carry that with you this week. And even carry it with you into interactions with others. If someone treats you badly, look at things from their perspective and realize, maybe they are waiting for that positive outcome in their own life. Heck, what if you're it. What if your mess has come along to help you become aware of the pain others are going through? Maybe your freedom is in helping someone else find theirs. Either way, that is a topic for another time.
Have a great week!