No, I am not a morning person.
When I found myself accepting an early flight to a meeting out of state, my rationalization was simple. The airport was just minutes from the house. Yes, I would be leaving around 4am to wait for my flight, but I would be spending my energy sitting. Waiting. The hardest task would be the short , calm drive to the airport.
As I loaded my car with my trusted, tightly packed carry-on tote, I was ready to get to the airport to do what I do best at this time in the morning – rest. I had already programmed my GPS hours earlier as my brain stalled just finding the multi-colored map icon. “Just do what the little GPS voice says” I thought “and nobody will get hurt.”
The drive was going as well as could be expected on that dark, early Florida morning. I had the windows rolled down, wind blowing in my face in hopes that maybe it would force just a bit more neurological activity of some sort. The street lights illuminated the road before me as only green lights welcomed me that morning. I followed the voice exactly as stated and everything was cruising along just fine.
Until I noticed I was no longer cruising in the glow of the street lights.
As I gazed at my surroundings, I hit the high beams on my car headlights just to make sure I was still driving on a road, or at minimum solid ground of some sort. And the paved path turned, I began to feel that nagging feeling inside that something wasn’t right. Yet the computerized voice cheered me on.
“In 500 feet you have reached your destination” my masculine GPS assured me.
I continued down a dark path, followed by signs and ground-covered painted lines that to me, shouted “Danger!” But it was early and my rationalization still required coffee.
Driving onward I read a sign stating something about a Flight School, then a runway followed by “authorized Personnel Only.” It wasn’t until I noticed the brightly flashing blue and red lights illuminating my rear view mirror that my assumptions were indeed validated. The little voice in my GPS was wrong…so very wrong.
I believe the conversation I had with the airport security this early in the morning went something like:
Officer: “Mam, this is a restricted area and you need to leave immediately.”
Me: “I am trying to get to the Melbourne International Airport. I see the bright lights, but I can’t get close enough.”
Officer: “Mam, I understand. But you are in the wrong area and you need to leave immediately.”
Me: “I will. But can you tell me how to get to the airport?”
Officer: “Mam, you are at the airport but this area is…”
Me: “Wait, I’m at the airport! I must have taken a different entrance…”
Officer: “Mam, I can sure you that you did take the wrong entrance.”
Me: “Where do I park?”
Officer: “Mam, if you follow me I can lead you to a safe parking area for all outgoing flights.”
Me: “That’s exactly where I need to be! How far is it from here?”
Officer: “Not that far at all mam, but we do need to leave now. We are on the runway.”
I know for a fact the seriousness of the situation didn’t quite register until later as my plane pulled away from the gate. I recognized the gate designs of the airplane parking area welcoming me back from our previous early morning party.
To think my little soothing guidance friend almost caused my casualty with a jumbo jet still blows my mind. I did get my first ever escorted drive to the airport parking area and even assistance into the boarding area. I wonder if I made it onto the “No Fly” list that day too. Surely they have a file for crazy passengers like myself.
Oh the emotional mind-wrecking experience of being lost.
In the craziness of our lives, we stumble upon times where we find ourselves completely lost and nowhere near the destination we originally set our eyes onto heading. How do we react? Do we keep steering past the obvious warning signs in hopes that maybe the threats were meant for a different traveller? Do we continue to listen to that clear yet somewhat computed voice sounding in our head determining where we should be going based upon the calculations of others? Do we even know why we are trying to get where we are going so badly? Do we even know we are lost or does it take the bright blue and red lights to grab our attention?
Getting lost is easy.
Realizing you are lost can be difficult.
Good thing we know Who to listen to, above the crowded voices of others, gently guiding us Home.
Looking back at this experience, I can hear His voice, calling out His promises:
Bethany, I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ For I have chosen you -Bethany -and will not throw you away. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you Bethany and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:9, 10 NLT)