Every once in a while you have an experience that re-teaches you just what it means to have faith. At least, it happens that way for me. I suppose that I often coast along in my life, going about my business and forgetting to rely on the Lord, and then something happens that wakes me up and reminds me just how much I need Him.
It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for me. I injured my shoulder to the extent that I have been in a lot of physical pain, and after a few doctor’s appointments and an MRI, I have a date set for surgery. I’ve been bummed about that, the winter months always get me down anyway, and December is just crazy time.
I have been holding onto the fact that as soon as I was finished up teaching for the semester, I would be flying out to Utah to meet up with all of my brothers and my parents. My mom has been singing in an amazing organization (The Millennial Choirs and Orchestras) and more than anything, she wanted all of her children to be in the audience at her Christmas concert last night. I live in Michigan, Dave lives in Seattle, Jon lives in Utah but spends the majority of his time traveling all over the world for work, and Nate lives in Arizona. Somehow we all managed to clear our schedules and get flights out to Utah in order to be in that audience and spend some time together as an original family.
My flight was scheduled to leave on Sunday at 1:30 pm. When I got up on Sunday morning a dense fog covered the ground and I saw that there was a weather warning on my phone. So, naturally, I started to pray. I live in a very remote area—trust me when I say that—and sometimes flying in and out is difficult. My last several flights out have been pretty crazy, and this one was shaping up to be no different.
|I took this on the way home from the hospital on the day of my MRI. It had been very foggy earlier that day, too, and it froze on the trees later in the afternoon. I admit, frozen fog is gorgeous.
I went to church, where we had members of the Stake Young Men’s presidency speak in sacrament meeting. I am in such a remote part of Michigan, that our stake headquarters is in Green Bay, Wisconsin. That is a four-hour drive for us. Not only do we have to drive that far just to go to stake conference and other stake events, the brethren who were speaking to us in church had also made that long trek that day.
I taught my Sunday School class, and then headed to the airport. It was still incredibly foggy out, and I couldn’t believe that the incoming flight was actually in the air. My husband dropped me off and headed back to the church to do tithing settlements, and I sat in the airport waiting for the plane. I stared out the window, looking at the huge bank of fog that was sitting on the airfield and wondered how on earth it was going to land. And then it didn’t. It had to turn back to Chicago, which automatically canceled my flight out.
I stood up to go get my flight rescheduled, hoping that maybe I could get on the next morning’s early flight. But then I started to hear that many people were rescheduling out of Green Bay (which is what we had to do for our NYC trip—also due to dense fog). The thought came to my mind that I could probably catch a ride down to Green Bay with the stake young men’s presidency, and I felt an incredible amount of peace when that thought came.
Peace. For me, that is usually a sign that the spirit is speaking to me. I thought about taking the early flight out of my own airport and did not feel good about it. So I texted my husband and asked him what he thought about me flying out of Green Bay. He immediately called back and said I should definitely do that, and that I should also catch a ride with our friends from the stake. We made the arrangements, and within an hour, I was in a minivan headed south.
In four hours straight of dense fog.
My Green Bay friends welcomed me into their home for the night and were completely willing to get up at 4:00 the next morning to take me to the airport to catch the ridiculously early flight I had scheduled. But I was a little worried about the fact that Green Bay was covered in the same fog that had been back home. I checked my phone and was even more concerned to find a dense fog warning for Green Bay.
About an hour after I arrived in Green Bay, my flight the next morning had been canceled. And this is where I started to freak out a little. Remember all the peace I felt? And yet, now I was stranded four hours away from home with no flight out. How could that have been the right decision?
I made my phone calls and there was no way they could get me out of Green Bay in time for me to get to Salt Lake to see my mom’s concert. Besides, with the fog warnings, I wasn’t confident that even that flight would get out. I decided it would be best to just rent a car from the airport in the morning and drive the three hours to Chicago to catch my flight there. If I left early enough, I would arrive in plenty of time to catch my Chicago flight and get to the concert on time.
My husband wasn’t exactly thrilled about this decision. Neither was I, frankly. Driving is not my favorite activity, and driving for three hours alone into a big city when most of my route was blanketed in fog was definitely not appealing.
But I made that decision, feeling like it was really the only way. And then I saw that there was a plane headed for my home airport from Chicago. If that plane landed, the early flight the next day would most likely get out. And if that flight got out, I had made the wrong decision in coming to Green Bay. Now I was going to have to spend a bunch of money on a rental car and drive alone for several hours, plus impose upon my friends to get me where I needed to be when I COULD HAVE SIMPLY STAYED HOME AND TAKEN THE NEXT FLIGHT OUT.
I was a wreck. I called my husband and just spilled my feelings out all over him. I was feeling totally sorry for myself that I’ve been in such pain, had such a difficult time the last few weeks, and why couldn’t my flight just freaking fly out easily when it was supposed to? Why did it have to be so hard all the time? Why had I felt such peace about coming to Green Bay when that was clearly the wrong decision? Why was nothing working out for me? Why, why, why?
I have a good husband. He listened, he reminded me that not only did I feel I was listening to the Spirit, I had made the most logical decision. He reminded me of how much I had been looking forward to going to spend time with my family in Utah. He reminded me that I’m a grown woman and that driving to Chicago is not that difficult. Then he told me to stop worrying and go to bed so that I would have the energy to drive in the morning.
So I did. But I worried all night that I had made the wrong decision. And I was a ball of anxiety about everything working out well the next day.
And then I woke up. I looked at my phone and had texts from both my mom and from my husband telling me that the flight had never landed and had to turn back to Chicago (again!—those poor people), and that I had definitely made the right decision.
And that’s when I was flooded with peace.
There’s a wonderful quote about faith that goes like this:
“When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly.” ~Patrick Overton
For me, it required stepping into the dense fog, not knowing how I would get to my end destination, but having to trust that things would work out and that I had made the right decision and that I would arrive there.
Now, I know that I am not the only person who was negatively affected by the flight cancellations. I watched flight after flight be canceled, and I know that everyone had somewhere to be that was important to them. I was certainly not special in that regard.
But I learned that my Heavenly Father is certainly looking after me and my small needs. That maybe He couldn’t take away the fog and make the travel easy for me, but He could help clear a pathway to my final destination. It was a pathway that wasn’t so easy, but he placed people there to help me and gave me the tools and I made it.
I was never so happy to land in Utah and see my mountains as I was yesterday afternoon! I waited another hour in the airport for Dave’s flight to come in, and then Jon picked us up at the baggage claim.
We met Nate and his wife for dinner at City Creek. While we were eating, our dad walked in looking for a bathroom. He wasn’t supposed to be able to be to the concert because he is a UPS man and it is Christmas time. That means he usually isn’t home until very late. But yesterday, he managed to finish up early and wanted to surprise everyone at the concert. Instead, he was surprised to walk into the restaurant and find all of his children sitting right next to the door!
Photo taken by my dad just after he walked in.
Best of all, we walked over to Abravanel Hall and we watched my mother take part in an amazing concert. A concert celebrating the birth of our Savior. A concert that reminded me just how much He loves me. Enough to be born into this world to atone for my sins, and enough to help me get to Utah, as seemingly unimportant as that is in the grand scheme of things.
While this post may not really convey just what a powerful thing I experienced personally, for me it was life-changing and much-needed. I am always thankful for the reminder that even when life is difficult, He is always there beside me, guiding me through the dense fog.