Last week Mel and I flew west to attend a conference for his upcoming change in career choice–from ER to private practice. We stayed at the resort where the conference was held at Lake Tahoe–one of the most beautiful places in the world, in my opinion. Our stay there was perfect, and Mel learned more than he’d ever expected to learn. He’s so excited!
The travel to and from the conference, however, was like a trip through the bad place. Had I been given a choice, I wouldn’t have gone. I was struggling with strep throat, was taking antibiotics–therefore wasn’t contagious–and had no energy. A trip anywhere, even to one of my favorite places in the world, did not excite me. I was depressed, grumpy, sick. Mel, however, insisted. That’s not like him. I didn’t want to disappoint him, because he hates traveling without me, and he knows how much I love Tahoe. So I went, and tried hard to be sweet about it. Funny, all I did was grumble to God. I didn’t think to ask Him to help me enjoy it.
Our first clue that it would not go well was when the initial flight was late. Then we were loaded quickly into the jet, taxied to the take-off area, where the pilot turned off the engines. “Folks, there’s a weather problem at our destination, so we’ll have to just sit here awhile until we’re given the go-ahead.” We were assured that we would be there in time to catch the next flight in our layover–that they would wait for us. We weren’t. They didn’t. We did have a nice meal of sushi at the San Francisco airport before catching the next flight, which was also late. We saw no signs of weather problems, so we’re not sure what caused the delays. I know I complained a lot. Worse, because we arrived late at night, there was nighttime construction taking place on the road, so what would have taken us thirty minutes took us an hour. Poor Mel couldn’t help hearing me sigh and grumble under my breath. Funny, I didn’t think to pray.
Finally we arrived! Of course, it was way past our bedtime, so we tumbled into bed without unpacking, and I slept late the next morning. The next afternoon, when Mel came back from class, he was ecstatic, I was awake, and he insisted we explore the area. He took me on a hiking trail and I hiked for the first time in almost two years. I tried to be cheerful, but I was sick, sad, stuck in depression. This was my first time back in my home state of California since my mother’s death this past winter, and grief still held me–the reason I’ve been sick for so many months. I couldn’t walk very far that day, so we only hiked about a mile, and then caught a shuttle back from the Squaw Creek Square. I crawled into bed and Mel climbed in beside me. We watched TV the rest of the night. I spent no time in my Bible or talking to God. I just grieved.
The next day, however, I emailed some friends about my struggle, and those friends started praying. My throat still hurt and I still didn’t feel well, but when Mel returned to the room he was bouncing with excitement over what he was learning, and I caught some of that excitement. We hiked much farther that day, and the scent of Squaw Valley–hazelnut and vanilla combined with pine–began it’s work on me. The sunshine dazzled me, and my spirits lifted. They never dropped quite so low again for the rest of the trip. Finally, halfway through the week, as Mel and I were hiking again, I said, “Honey, did you know how badly I didn’t want to come on this trip?” He said, “Yes, Sweetheart. I knew. I also knew that you would start to feel better once you got here. You needed to get out of that house and start to live again.” I said, “Do you know how much I love you?” He took my hand, then took me into his arms and kissed me, then held me tightly there in the middle of the forest in the Sierras. “Yes, I know.” And I thanked God for such a wonderful husband. I started speaking to God a little more, as well.
We didn’t have any more trouble until we started back home. At the airport in Reno we returned to the bad place. No flight. Engine problems. We spent the night at a local hotel and spent hours trying to contact someone to get us out of there the next day. Mel got it worked out, though we no longer trusted this airline to tell us the truth about anything. The next day we finally boarded, after yet another delay, but by then I was on better speaking terms with God, and I asked hundreds of friends online to pray. Of course, as we sat in the plane, the hostess explained that they had to fix the bathroom door. We and the rest of the folks on the jet made a pact to never fly with this airline again, but my attitude was somewhat better, even after our flight out of Denver was also delayed. I’m so glad we didn’t know until the next day that that same airline had a jet lose an engine over Newark NJ about the same time we were flying. They circled for hours before landing safely. With all the problems this airline had, it could have been us.
So I still don’t like to fly. I probably will again, though not with this airline. And not without a lot of prayer. What was I thinking, to get onto a jet without praying first? Whew. I hope I never do that again. With God as the pilot of my life, everything goes smoother.
Have you ever had a discovery like that? Come pray with us.