Plans . . .

Last week I was scheduled to attend Grace College and Seminary Board meetings in Winona Lake, Indiana. So last month, I made my plans to travel there and back. Below is the plan .... and then the reality:

Plan 

Tuesday, Feb. 17th - Fly from Philadelphia to Fort Wayne (Indiana) on a direct flight; flight departs Philadelphia at 11:07 AM and arrives Fort Wayne 1:09 PM

Saturday, Feb. 21st - Return flight Fort Wayne direct to Philadelphia; flight departs Fort Wayne at 7:20 AM  and arrives Philadelphia 9:08 AM

Reality 

Monday, Feb. 16th - USAirways issues a travel advisory for flights departing from Philadelphia the next day (Tuesday). With the forecast calling for several inches of snow (beginning shortly before the time I would be leaving for the airport), I took advantage of USAirways waving of the ticket change fee ($200) to rebook for a Wednesday morning flight. Glad I did as many flights were cancelled on Tuesday, including mine.

Wednesday, February 18th - Boarded my flight for Fort Wayne on time (departure scheduled for 11:07 AM). 30 minutes later we were deplaned. The pilot explained that the aircraft was experiencing a mechanical problem which was preventing the plane from being fueled. We were told to remain near the gate in hopes that the problem could be fixed and we could be on our way. After waiting for another half hour, the flight was canceled. I was rebooked along with most of the other passengers on the next available flight, due to depart at 6:20 PM. However the plane which we were going to take from Philadelphia to Fort Wayne (coming into Philadelphia from Pittsburgh), experienced mechanical issues in Pittsburgh. Bottom line: we finally departed Philadelphia at 9:05 PM. By the time I rented my car and drove the 50 minutes or so to Winona Lake, I got in after midnight. Needless to say I missed the day's meetings entirely.

Saturday, February 21 - Boarded my flight from Fort Wayne on time. However because it was snowing in Fort Wayne at the time, the plane needed to be deiced. Just as we were about to undergo deicing, an earlier flight which had already departed, had returned to the airport for additional deicing. They had priority over us and so they were deiced before we were. When it was all said and done (which included the time for the previous flight to be deiced and for our plane to be deiced twice) we departed Fort Wayne about an hour and a half behind schedule. Once I arrived at the Philadelphia airport, I contacted the parking service I had used to park my vehicle. Their shuttle arrived promptly and took me back to the parking lot. Got in my car, paid my bill, and was on my way. If you recall the weather on Saturday, a significant snowfall was forecasted. I was hoping to beat the snow home.  About 10 miles down the road I stopped at a WaWa to get a cup of coffee. Just after pouring my coffee, I received a call from the parking lot people. They called to let me know that they had forgotten to return my credit card. Now I take some responsibility for that. I should've noticed. However I was tired, and I was focused on getting home before the storm. So I backtracked to the parking lot to retrieve my credit card (they did give me a coupon for a free days parking for my next trip. Hmm. Don't even want to think about a next trip just now!). This added a bit over a half hour to my trip. I'm glad to say, that from that point on the rest of my trip went as planned!

So my friends, a couple of "takeaways" from all of this. First of all, I discovered that the F terminal at Philly international airport is not a bad place to hang out for a day. The terminal has a small food court with some good eating options and there are power stations available to charge one's electronics. So if you ever get stuck as I did at the F terminal at the Philly airport, you won't starve and you'll be able to stay connected! But on a more serious note, my experience is a good reminder that no matter how hard we plan, there are just many contingencies that are outside of our control. But here's the good news. They are not outside of God's control! I reminded myself of that reality numerous times throughout the day. For reasons known only to God, what actually happened in my travels last week, might not have been my part of my plan, but was certainly part of his (Ephesians 1:11).

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

UPDATE: Thursday, February 26th - Interesting that I should post this blog on Tuesday. Last night, the team leader (of a team of three) of a planned missions trip to Haiti underwent emergency surgery to remove his appendix. Needless to say, the trip is in the process of being rescheduled for later this spring (the team leader is an electrician whose skills are necessary to complete the project they were going to work on). So glad this happened while the team was still stateside. Just another example of our plans not always going as scheduled. But we can (and must) trust God through our disappointments. O God, we believe, help our unbelief!




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