Light rain silently falls onto our rental car as we pull up to the Enterprise ‘Return Car’ lot in Mesa, Arizona. My mom puts the car in park then glances over her shoulder to Kaya in the back seat.
“I guess our trip is almost over,” she sighs.
“I don’t want to go home Grandma,” Kaya replies, “Can’t we stay one more day?” she pleads.
“It’s been a fun weekend, but it’s time to get back to work,” I respond regretfully. I didn’t want the weekend to be over either. It’s always hard returning home to reality and the daily tasks of life…especially after good company, good food, and happy memories.
Kaya slumps her shoulders, rolls her eyes, then slowly opens the door to get out of the car. “Alright fine… we can go home… but as soon as we get there I want to do something fun…not work” she complains.
“Ha! We’ve been playing all weekend my friend!” I quip, “You have homework you need to catch up on.”
The previous Friday night kicked off a fun girl’s weekend to Scottsdale, Arizona. Why Arizona? It was supposed to be a warm and sunny middle meeting spot for us and my sister and niece, who live in North Dakota. The weather during our weekend stay wasn’t as warm as I had hoped, but was most definitely warmer than the chilly 28 degrees back home. We spent the weekend shopping, laughing, and eating our our weight in chocolate and sugar.
We reluctantly drop off our rental car and begin walking toward the airport to check-in for our flight…I glance down at my phone…12:00…our flight doesn’t leave until 2:50 p.m. “Well, that’s ok,” I think to myself, “We can wait for a couple hours…no biggie.”
A mere two minutes later my mom glances down at her phone to read an alert from our airline…
“Bad news ladies,” she declares, “Our flight has been delayed until 3:30!”
The weather back in Ogden wasn’t cooperating with our plans to fly home.
That would be just our luck…of course we had already dropped off the car…now we were stranded…for who knew how long.
We decide that a 40 minute delay isn’t terrible and proceed to check our bags and brave the security line…what else could we do?
We gradually make it through security then trudge through the airport to Gate 10 where we sit and wait….and wait…and wait to board the plane for home. The rain outside continues to fall and drops speckle the widows…3:30 comes…then goes. Our flight home is delayed one more hour, then, two, then three.
Five hours ago I didn’t want to leave the weekend behind, but now home was the only place I wanted to be. It’s crazy how sitting in an airport gate, not doing much of anything, can wear you out. My eyelids grow heavy and falling asleep in own my warm bed at home soon becomes a distant hope.
“Ladies and gentlemen we regretfully inform you that the flight to Ogden, Utah has been cancelled. Your returning flight has been rescheduled to leave tomorrow afternoon at 11:00 a.m. ” the front desk clerk announces from overhead, followed by the groans of many frustrated passengers.
We gather up our bags and other belongings, then grumpily walk back to the front of the airport to make arrangements to stay in a nearby hotel where we find ourselves in more lines…waiting.
A day later… I’m finally home, wrapped up in my favorite blanket sitting on my favorite couch, replaying the events of the past two days. During our adventured in the airport I was frustrated and annoyed, but as I’ve pondered the situation I’ve concluded that had we not been stranded for nearly eight hours… I never would have had the pleasure of meeting and talking to the many wonderful people we did. We had opportunities to serve others in small, yet meaningful ways and also to receive of other’s kindness.
We were blessed to literally rub shoulders with random strangers in the tiny shuttle bus that transported us to the hotel on that cold night. We made instant friendships with a group of four cute smiling ladies and an older retired couple who were flying into Ogden to be with family over the holidays. We also had the opportunity to help a sweet mother of two flying home by herself…I’m sure the extended trip was difficult.
Most of all the passengers on our cancelled flight just wanted to get home to Utah. In my opinion…after a long trip anywhere for anything… coming home always feels good. When I think of home, I think of comfort, security, happiness, familiarity, and joy. In my mind, there is no place better than home.
When we got home after our short trip, we were pleasantly surprised by wonderful gifts, our driveway plowed, and fallen tree branches collected and cut down. The kindness of others brought tears to our eyes and smiles to our faces. Coming home to the kind acts of others, after a long difficult journey, was welcomed and very much appreciated.
In a way…aren’t we all just trying to get home? Our life’s journeys are meant to eventually lead us back our heavenly home… our true home filled with comfort, security, happiness, familiarity, and joy. Often our journey in this life may seem long and hard, but as we continue to wait out the difficulties and seek out opportunities to serve others…eventually we will find ourselves finally… home…for truly there is no place like home!
I’m thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who wants me to return home to Him. I’m grateful for his plan of happiness and know that one day I will be able to return home with those whom I love and hold dear.