Months ago I sat and looked at the little diagrams of the airplanes on Delta's website intently taking into consideration the seats available, their numbering, side of the plane, and the all important window option. I took into consideration the time of day, direction of flight, sleeping possibilities, bathroom break accessibility...all the little details that make a long flight to Alaska (or in my case several long, consecutive flights) more comfortable and enjoyable.
I had them all figured out and made my selections. Even double checked their positioning later on before checking in to make sure I had not overlooked anything. I was pleased and was looking forward to the wonderful sights that were out there just awaiting my arrival to see their beauty and awesomeness.
First flight of the day to Detroit was good. Window seat on right side of plane. Quiet flight during which I slept. I awoke just in time to begin the initial descent. Bonus: Flying over Lake Erie. I've flown to Detroit from Atlanta before several times and had never taken this particular flight path before...that I was aware of anyway. I'm not always at a window seat on the way to Detroit. It was a great reminder of last summer's spontaneous stop at Lake Erie on the way home from camp. We had a wonderful evening of walking by the water and enjoying the sunset...and swimming in the hotel pool. :) Alex got in the Lake the next morning. I waded, but it was too cold for my liking even if it was a hot summer.
Next flight, which happened to take off from the very gate our plane docked at when landing...awesomeness...was from Detroit to Seattle. Window seat on the left side of the plane. Nice senior couple sitting in my row. We chatted off and on during the flight. They were taking their grandsons on an Alaskan cruise that sailed from Seattle the next day. The had just returned from a mission trip in Moldova a few weeks prior. The lady asked about my trip to AK and so I shared a little about GraceWorks with her. Bonus: Flying over Lake Michigan soon after take off, and seeing what I do believe was Mt. Rainier on the approach into SEA-TAC airport. There was another mountain off in the distance...could have been Mt. Adams according to my reasearch. Both standing out with their covering of white snow from the clear blue sky, it was a sight to behold, indeed.
Wow! moments that made me smile and thank God for over and over again.
Third and final flight was from Seattle to Anchorage. This I knew was going to be awesome. I had seen the sights down below from the sky. Aisle 19, seat A. Left side of the plane, window seat. I made my way back...settled in...buckled my seatbelt.
Not two minutes later a dad and two kids come down the aisle and stop at row 19. The dad looking at me and holding tickets in his hand. I knew that look. I did not like that look. I was all too familiar with that look because I have two boys of my own whom fly with me often. And then he proceeded to say something...I had the conversation already going on in my head, so I'm not for sure all of what he was saying, but I heard will you switch with me so I can sit with my kids. I sat there for a split second in disbelief. Then I asked which seat was his. 22D. Other side of the plane, further back on the plane...not a window seat.
The last flight I was on flashed in my mind and I remembered how generous a gentleman was to move backward in the plane for me to sit with Tim who was about to cry because we were separated.
I remembered what he had done for me and my spirit knew I had to do it.
But my flesh was weak and did not want to give up that window seat.
I gave up my window seat...and wanted to cry.
Gone was my view, my well thought out, planned ahead of time window seat. I sat back in my 22D and wanted to ask him why he didn't go online ahead of time and fix his problem which was now my problem. Really? What kind of dad doesn't make sure the seats are together? He wasn't a standby passenger...they hadn't cleared them yet. He had a choice from way back when, but no, he was in my seat. My window-with-a-view seat.
So I sat there and told myself not to let this ruin the last flight of the day for me. Getting to Anchorage was the important thing. I held onto a twinge of hurt for a little...okay more than a little...while. No one wanted an aisle seat around me...I asked. They knew what I knew. There was a view to behold a few hours from that moment that wasn't worth trading in for more leg room.
I did get over my pity party after awhile into the flight. But it wasn't easy. I prayed a lot. I wanted to be happy and carefree in 22D like I had been for a brief 1.5 minutes in 19A. I wanted to have the right heart and attitude at the same time. I prayed some more. Finally, I gave in and began intentionally talking with the young guy in 22F...he had tried starting a conversation with me a few times earlier. I wasn't that chatty then. I wanted to make it up to him so that he would see I could move through disappoinment into contentment as Jesus would want me to do. The world was watching.
As we chatted off and on, he would catch me looking past him out the window. He'd smile and say, "Cloudy out today...nothing to see out there yet." The gentleman inbetween us probably thought we were crazy. He was quiet. I was kind of soaking it in that the window seat didn't matter anyway because of the clouds and asked for forgiveness of my brief hesitation on moving earlier. God knew that the clouds were going to be there hindering the view. What mattered is that I did what was right and sacrificed my desires for the betterment of someone else. I sacrificed my window seat, but it wasn't a willing sacrifice. I hesitated. I pouted. I was disappointed longer than I should have been. I did not have a RainX moment where it just slid right off and didn't bother me. I was at peace again. God knew...I should have known He was in it all from the very beginning.
Bonus: Clouds cleared...only on the right hand side of the plane...on the side where I was now located. I did not have a window seat view, but I could see the snow capped mountains below. And, the young guy by the window did not mind taking a couple of pics for me with my camera. Tears came to my eyes. God not only knew about the clouds, He knew on which side of the plane I would have the best view of the mountains when He cleared them away! The clouds lifted a little on the other side, but only after the most dynamic views were behind us.
God got me right where I needed to be to enjoy the very things that I thought He was asking me to sacrifice. He was not asking me to give up what I loved, He was all about giving it to me.
Had I not sacrificed my seat for that man, I would have missed out on everything. Especially a well deserved lesson.
It is not surprising that my verse of the following day was Isaiah 55:9...
"For as heaven is higher than earth,
so My ways are higher than your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts."
This is how my God rolls!