April 21, 2020
The Smiley Face on the Window
As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more (Psalm 71:14 NIV).
Friend to Friend
I was flying home from Pennsylvania on Good Friday of the Easter weekend, and the airport was packed. As I waited for the plane to arrive at the gate, clouds began to fill the sky. Unfortunately, overbooked airplanes and stormy weather do not a good combination make. Delays and cancelations lit up the departure board like fireflies at dusk in summertime south.
I was scheduled to arrive in Charlotte, N.C. at 7:00 p.m. But then my arrival time was pushed back to 7:40, then to 8:40, then to 9. This was turning out to be not such a “good Friday” after all. The travelers were getting angry, the ticketing agents were getting agitated, and kids were getting antsy. I just wanted to go home.
Finally, after many gate changes and time delays, we boarded the plane headed for Charlotte. I closed my eyes and went to sleep. About an hour later, the pilot made an announcement.
“Hello, this is the captain. Unfortunately, the storm is passing through Charlotte at this time and we will not be able to land. We are going to land in Greensboro, 90 miles away, and wait it out. Feel free to disembark the airplane, but do not leave the boarding area. We will make an announcement when it is time to re-board. Don’t worry, we’ll get you to Charlotte just as quickly as possible. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
We landed in Greensboro and waited…and waited…and waited. About 10:30, there was another announcement. “May I have your attention please? For those travelling on flight 389 to Charlotte, unfortunately, the flight crew has logged too many hours and they will not be able to continue the flight to Charlotte. We have secured vans to drive you the rest of the way. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
You could just hear the collective moan. We trudged down to baggage claim, retrieved our bags, and separated into groups of nine.
And we waited.
Finally, we piled into the van: eight traveling to visit family, one going home. We quickly learned that the air conditioner was broken, and rather than cool air coming through the vents, heat poured out in every direction. No one could figure out how to shut it off. Temperatures rose, sweat poured, layers came off, the widows fogged up. It was miserable.
After about an hour and a half, I started to relax, thinking we would be in Charlotte at any minute. In the seat in front of me, a twenty-something woman and her mother chatted happily. They were on their way to spend the weekend with daughter number two. Daughter number one, who was apparently tracking our progress on her iphone, turned around in her seat to face me.
“We’re passing Statesville,” she said. “How much further do we have?”
“Statesville!” I cried. “We’re not supposed to be passing Statesville! He’s going the wrong way!”
Our one and a-half hour van ride turned into a three-hour trip. I was ready for this not-so-good Friday to be over. And it just about was because it was close to midnight.
Just as I was having a not-so-nice, one-way conversation with God, the mother in front of me drew a smiley face on the window on the steamed-up mirror! A smiley face!
What in the world does she have to be happy about? I mused. I don’t see anything “smiley” about this entire situation!
We finally arrived in Charlotte sometime after midnight. The quick one-and-a half hour flight had turned into an eight-hour nightmare. Nine dripping-wet, exhausted passengers climbed out of the van and breathed in the fresh night air.
“Bye Krista,” I said to the young iphone toting girl. “You have fun with you sister and mom this weekend.”
“Oh, we will,” she said. “My mom just found out that she has cancer for the second time. It doesn’t look too good. We’re going to spend a weekend together, just the three of us, simply enjoying each other. It might be our last.”
She turned to walk away…never seeing the tears that filled my eyes.
David’s words came to mind…words that he penned when he was having more than one bad day but many,” As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more (Psalm 71:14 NLT).
I looked back at the van’s window, which still held the picture of a smiley face drawn by a dying woman’s hand. Suddenly, my night of little inconveniences seemed rather petty.
It was a Good Friday after all. God had reminded me of all the reason I had to be thankful. Irritating circumstances are a sure thing in this world. Storms will rage. Winds of adversity will blow. It is our perspective durin the storm that will determine whether we will grumble and complain or draw a smiley face on the window and thank God for each and every breath we have. There is always a choice.
I slipped into the car with my precious, patient husband, gave him a quick kiss, and drew a smiley face on the window.
When we look at the difficulties, inconveniences, and problems of life as potential assignments from God, our perspective changes. We can decide to focus on what God can do through a difficult circumstance rather than the details of the circumstance itself.
We can’t control our circumstances, but we do have a choice as to how we react to them.
Lord, help me to have a good and godly attitude when life doesn’t go the way I’d hoped. Rather than see the inconveniences as a trial, help me to see them as an opportunity to grow. Help me to draw a smiley face on the adversity of life.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read the following smiley face that Habakkuk drew on his terrible day.
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-18
Consider writing your own version of Habakkuk 3:17-18.
More from the Girlfriends
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Words are one of the most powerful forces in the universe, and God has entrusted them to you! They echo in hearts and minds long after they are spoken. How will we use this gift? Your words can change the course of someone’s day…even someone’s life. Learn how to
- exchange careless words that hurt for intentional words that help others succeed
- recognize words that tear down confidence and replace them with words that build others up
- overcome the negativity that pushes people away and become a well of positivity that draws others in
- tame your tongue by practicing practical principles that help you think before you speak
- stop being disappointed in your lack of control by taking hold into the power of the Holy Spirit