Lessons From a Wandering Suitcase

Image courtesy of winnond and Freedigitalphotos.net

Two weeks ago, an opportunity to be flexible breezed across my day. It was a very planned opp on God’s part, I think. First of all, I should say I thrive on creating and carrying out my plans. Sometimes, though, God has a different agenda for me.

On this day two weeks ago, I arrived at the airport near Destin, Florida, thrilled to have left snow and cold behind. I couldn’t wait to dive into the five day writing retreat I’d planned to attend.

In the baggage claim area I scanned the boxes and luggage riding on the belt. A young man grabbed a suitcase that resembled mine and hurried to join his buddies. I wondered . . . Nah. I continued to wait. And wait. And then the belt stopped moving with two lonely suitcases left on it. Neither of them were mine. My plans didn’t include losing my luggage.

The airline’s customer service representative I spoke to confirmed my bag had indeed made the flight to Florida. My “plans” had just gone . . . well, somewhere, without me.

Then, I considered my present reality. My carry-on held all my electronics, cell phone, and my wallet (with credit card). These could keep me until the bag situation got sorted out. If I couldn’t get it back, it wouldn’t be hard to purchase anything I needed.

Four hours later, my cell phone rang. On the other end, a rather embarrassed young man explained what I already suspected. My suitcase made a three hour trip to central Florida without me. The poor guy drove all the way back to the airport to pick up his bag and drop off mine. My suitcase and I were reunited at about 11:00 that night.

This situation reminded me that life doesn’t always roll according to my well-thought out plans. When it takes a detour, I have a choice in how I will react. I can respond with helpless anger, or I can lean into the twists of the ride. Being surrounded by friends that evening made it easier to laugh about all that had gone awry in my day (and believe me, I had much to laugh at!). It was clear to me that God had a hand in the unexpected circumstances throughout the day. He showed me He was taking care of me, even when things didn’t go the way I expected.

I’m definitely a “go-according-to-the-plan” kind of gal, but when I can’t control my circumstances, I’m learning to flow in the flexibility mode of handling life.

Your Turn: What about you? When have you had unexpected circumstances happen? What did you do?