“Joy is to fun what the deep sea is to a puddle. It’s a feeling inside that can hardly be contained.”–Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
Ding…Ding….I’m in such a deep sleep, I actually think I dream the noise. Ding…Ding…yes, this time I know it’s for real. I struggle to make my eyes open to see the light of my phone in the dark room. I normally don’t keep my phone on at night, but when my husband is out of town, I keep it on…you know, just in case of some disaster. My eyes seem to take forever to see the text message that has come through. I notice the time says 3:30 am…geez who texts at this ungodly hour. When my vision actually starts to work properly, the text is exactly what I don’t want to read: Your flight has been cancelled. Wait…what?? That’s it? No 1-800 number to call in and try to figure another route, no I’m sorry for any inconvenience….nope. Just cancelled. Take a deep breath, and oh yeah, remember to exhale.
You see, this was not just any flight. It was one that my seventeen-year-old daughter, Paisley, and I have been looking forward to for months. For her birthday (forever ago), I bought us tickets to see her favorite band in Chicago. This was to be our very first girl’s trip together. I mean, we have done little things here and there, but this was our first flight …our first adventure just the two of us. We’ve never seen this band live before, and we both had never been to Chicago. And…now it’s cancelled. I get online and find a contact number for the airline. I am on hold for half an hour before I get someone. After I give them all of my information, the call drops. Really?? Calls drop?? It’s 2016! Stuff like this shouldn’t happen. So, I call back…on hold for another 30 minutes before I actually talk to a human being. She’s nice. I know it’s not her fault that there was no crew. I’m just looking for another flight available. Of course, there’s not one.
I’ve got a decision to make. I’m actually in driving distance from Chicago, it’s a pretty good drive, but doable. However, Paisley and I do NOT have good sense of direction. Actually, it’s unbelievably bad. So, I’m a little nervous driving to a place I’ve never been before. However, it’s her birthday present. She’s looked forward to it for so long. I can’t let my directional insecurities get in the way. So, lets make it a real adventure…ROAD TRIP!
I quietly walk into Paisley’s room and wake her. She’s a little unhinged because I’m waking her up while its still dark out. I tell her what happened, and I say, “Lets go!” And in pure Paisley fashion, she’s all up for the fun. I have to figure out some details about my other kids and their supervision because it seemed like everybody on the face of the planet was out of town that weekend, but good friends came through.
And, we were off.
As we got closer to the city we were all excited. It was so big!! Our hotel was super easy to find, and when we pulled up a parking space right across the street became available. Thank you, Jesus (no kidding, I was really thankful to the Lord for that spot!). We raced upstairs to our room to change so we could explore the city a bit before the concert. I was so tired, but I Paisley’s excitement was so contagious it was enough for the both of us.
We didn’t have long to see the sights before the concert was about to start. As we made our way to the stadium with the other 60,000 people going to the same concert, we noticed that the sky didn’t look too happy. In fact, it looked really angry…like, “I’m gonna get you,” kind of angry. The wind began whipping around us, and it was almost blowing us down. A steady flow of people began to fill the stadium and just as we were about to find our seats, lightening and thunder surrounded us. A warning message appeared on the screens that said severe weather was on top of us and we would not be allowed to our seats. So, we stayed under the overhang for…get this…2 hours! Yes, 2 hours in one of the craziest storms I have ever been in. Seats were being tossed around like little Legos by the wind, and the rain, well; the rain was literally like taking a shower with your clothes on. It was a mess.
I kept looking over at Paisley. This was supposed to be her special weekend. We had already missed some of our fun activities because of not being able to fly, and getting there so late. And now, it was like the stadium was a toilet bowl, and we were getting flushed. But, all I saw on her face was sheer happiness. She was in a new city, seeing one of her all time favorite bands, and it’s her senior year. For her, this was amazing. Watching her, on the cusp of adulthood with one foot still in her youth and the other in her future, I was inspired by her choice to be happy and not let all this unexpectedness bring her down.
The concert did eventually start, but it ended a bit early due to another storm. We pretty much had to swim back to the hotel. I’ll never forget holding on to my daughter’s hand running in the rain, getting a little lost going back to the hotel (told you!), and laughing so hard that our adventure had turned out this way. It’s one of the things I’ll remember forever when I think about my girl.
Not one detail of our trip turned out the way we thought. We could’ve allowed it to ruin our time, but instead we rode the wave. The goal of our trip was to spend time together, and that’s exactly what we did. Now that it’s over, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Happiness is exactly what we make of it. If we allow our happiness to be based on outside circumstances then we will never feel true joy because, no matter what we tell ourselves, so much of life is out of our control. Our happiness has to come from inside us. If we allow our joy to come from our Heavenly Father, then it can never be taken away, cancelled, drenched or lost for that matter. It remains.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13