Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Unexpected

"I never could have predicted you and I would be sitting together in Baltimore, waiting for take-out food at Chilis at 10:00 at night," I say to my ten year old granddaughter as she leans against me.

"Me either."

But here we are.

Instead of where we'd planned to be.

How often does that phrase fit our circumstances?

Ending up in Baltimore instead of on a sunny Florida beach wasn't predictable or even our fault. How often do those conditions fit our life--unpredictable or not our fault?

Our original flight was delayed because of weather, and we missed our Florida connection in Baltimore. The flight attendant said she thought we'd make it. "I'm pretty sure they'll wait for 14 people when we are only eight minutes late."

But they didn't wait. We scrambled for alternate flights and found a hotel with a shuttle. And then a funny thing happened.

The flight we'd missed was the same flight my niece was taking to the same Florida destination, to the same family trip. While texting our mutual delays, she asked where we were.

In Baltimore.

I am too, she replied. Waiting for the flight to take off. We've been on the tarmac for almost two hours.

Tell the pilot to come back and get us, I joked.

But he didn't come back for us and he never got our niece to Florida. While we waited for our luggage, the plane didn't budge. Finally, it came back; her flight, our missed flight, was canceled. We'd been spared almost three hours sitting on the plane thinking we were about to take off for Florida. Furthermore, our early delay allowed us to schedule tickets and a hotel for the next day--airplane and sleeping space booked solid later in the day.

If it wasn't for my niece and her play by play from the tarmac, we wouldn't have known the misery we were spared--only that we weren't in Florida like we'd planned. Usually, when misfortune occurs, we never know the real outcome, and we presume we were dealt the worst hand--so it seems at the time, but what if, it was really the better hand?

In the end, we all ended up together in Baltimore, on a rainy night, eating take-out from Chili's--making the most out of the unexpected.