The prophet Isaiah tells us in Isaiah 25:1:
“O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.” (The emphasis is mine, it is not in Scripture.)
In August 2014, the plans that we had started in January came to fruition as Peyton and Dougal Moore traveled with us to the airport for our much-anticipated trip to Alaska. The following is an account of the unanticipated excitement we met before even beginning our adventure!
We left Knoxville at 2:45 in the afternoon and flew to Detroit. From there we went to Seattle and then on to Anchorage, to arrive at 11:05 p.m. Anchorage time (3:00 a.m. Knoxville time). For some reason, the scheduled layover in Seattle was shortened from an hour to a mere 25 minutes. Sounds alright, but when we were still in the air, preparing to land, when our 25 minute layover should have started, we began to be concerned.
And the clock continued to tick.
Once on the ground, rather than proceeding to the gate, the pilot came on the intercom and said that there were 4 planes ahead of us. We could not get to the gate until they were out of the way. While this was interesting, the important words in his message were: “It will be about 10 minutes before we can open the plane’s doors.” Clearly, the shortened layover was getting even shorter.
And the clock continued to tick.
Finally we were at the gate and the pilot turned off the seat belt light … we unlocked the belt, retrieved the carry-on luggage from the overhead bin and waited for the door to open so we could make the mad dash through the jetway to the gate agent for information on our connecting flight, which happened to be the last flight to Anchorage for the day!
The jet’s door opened and we elbowed our way off the plane only to be confronted by an airline agent standing in the jetway next to the plane, holding open a door at the top of a metal staircase on the outside of the plane. The agent was calling over the tumult: “all Anchorage passengers, come this way.”
Bypass the gate agent, bypass the terminal altogether and go straight from one airplane to the other airplane on the concrete tarmac?
Who does that? And how do you get there?
And how do they know?
At that moment there were a multitude of questions but right then it seemed appropriate to follow the guy with the booming voice since he had a badge and said he knew how to get us to our next plane before it took off!
So, Bill and I, along with the Moores and about 20 other passengers, went down the metal stairs, belongings in hand, and jumped into the vans that were already running and waiting to take us to the Anchorage flight.
Now, I have long had a “Walter Mitty” fantasy of driving the baggage carts among the behemoth airplanes at the airport.
[Check out Wikipedia for an excellent article about The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Secret_Life_of_Walter_Mitty. Or, if this article does not satisfy your questions about Mitty, you could go to the March 18, 1939 issue of The New Yorker and read the story as it was first published by James Thurber. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1939/03/18/the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-2 .]
It appeared that my fantasy was now coming true, although a bit modified. I was being driven in a van around and underneath the giant planes — then I panicked when I saw the active runway directly ahead. “We don’t have to board on the runway, do we?” I shrieked to the agent racing the van like an Indy car.
Without looking at me and keeping her attention on driving she responded “No, we can’t go on the runway, but you are as close to getting onboard at the runway as you could be!”
I had that Walter Mitty dream for over 50 years … I’m over it now!
She made a hard right careening into a gate area and I found myself staring at a luggage cart next to a moveable, metal stairway leading up the side of the airplane. She stopped the van and we were told to go on up the stairs, don’t take time to look for tickets – “they know who you are!”
We got to the top of the steps, went into the plane, sat down in the empty seats, the doors closed and the engines revved. As we thanked the Lord that we had made the flight, a look out the window confirmed that we were, in fact, headed to the runway that I had just seen up close and personal.
Alaska was awaiting.
The first view of “ALASKA” was looking out from the airport doors at the mountains shrouded in cloudy haze in Anchorage.
While the four of us were excited about the trip since none of us had ever been to Alaska before, it never occurred to us that the experience of getting to Alaska would be almost as adventuresome as the experiences in Alaska turned out to be. (Three days after we arrived in Anchorage, I broke my ankle. That is the subject of the first Ruminant Scribe blog post.)
Safely ensconced in the hotel, we had a chance to catch our breath and just think about all the things that had lined up just right so that we arrived in Anchorage in the first place.
Proverbs 19:21 says:
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.”
Even though we thought we had our travel plans all tied up with a neat little bow, God had our trip in His Hands. His purposes were preeminent, His timing was perfect, and His mercy was overwhelming. Isaiah 25:1.
Praise the Lord even when things seem to be spiraling out of control and even though it seems that things you planned might not come about. He is in control, He is Sovereign, and He is your Lord. Trust Him … and watch what He will do!
You might even find yourself in a high-speed trip around the airport tarmac!