January 20, 2013 | Posted in: Philosophy

Life is a continuous journey to get better. Just when I think I’ve got everything under control, I’m challenged.

After a productive business trip to Cancun, I went to the airport yesterday feeling all accomplished and benevolent and pleased with myself. My talents multiplied, job well done kind of thinking.

When I get to the airport, I’m happy to be going home to my sweetheart. I go to the counter and, wham!, I’m told weather is going to make me miss my connecting flight. In that very instant my Mother Teresa sense of benevolence and holier-than-thou-attitude went out the window. My uncharacteristic knee jerk response was evidence that I could still go from Wise to Wicked in two seconds flat. So much for holy.

img_1240With the young man behind the counter I was petulant and obviously very unhappy. I knew better than to take my frustration out on him and yet I still couldn’t reel myself in. Finally I said, “Just put me on the stupid plane! I’ll figure it out on my own! I hate your airline and I’ll never fly you guys again!” (What really embarrassed me is I’ve watched people behave poorly in identical situations and have thought to myself I would never be so self-centered and rude. Hmmm.)

Afterwards, I poked around the airport, grabbed some lunch, and knew I should go back and apologize to the kid at the counter but did I? No. Instead I vowed I wouldn’t take out my frustration over this unfortunate situation on anyone else. That promise holds up until I get to my Ft. Lauderdale Travelocity booked “motel” (vs “hotel”). And darn if I don’t go off again. This time on my husband who booked it for me AND the poor little clerk standing behind the counter at this mean and obvious two star dive establishment.

After stomping off to my room, I realize I’m hungry and if I want to eat I’ve no choice but to risk getting mugged on my way to the on site restaurant. Turns out I’m wrong. The staff is great, the food is wonderful and the patrons are friendly (a bunch of nice people getting ready to hop cruise ships and one very nice if not sweetly inebriated truck driver).

In the middle of my dining experience, one of the busboys walks up to me and smiles and says,

Excuse me. Are you a runway model? I know I’ve seen you on the red carpet before. You are gorgeous!” 

Ok, I’m 55; it’s late; I’ve been annoyed half-the day; I’m in Ft. Lauderdale land-of-God-knows-how-high-humidity and my hair looks like I’ve stuck my finger in an electrical socket … and this CUTE KID is telling me I’m gorgeous. After my exceedingly bad behavior, I’m especially grateful and touched by his kindness and I buy his compliment lock, stock and barrel.

My unexpected and inconvenient 24 layover in Florida has turned out to be a lesson in humility for me. To stop and be reminded that angels are everywhere. To impress upon me to be kind even when I feel entitled to be mean, angry and rude. To stop patting myself on the back and to remember I’m part of a magnificent journey filled with all types of delightful twists and turns and genuinely good people.

As I write this, I’m sitting in the hotel lobby of this magical Rodeway Inn listening to the shuttle driver laugh with the patrons. I’m reading signs over the desk that say, ‘Gift Shop’, ‘Choice Privileges’, ‘Guest Services’ … and realizing, yup, all these things are true. Gifts and Choice and Privilege and Service. Everywhere. All we must do is be open to the possibility.

I’ve hours to go until catching my flight. I’m enjoying the busyness of the lobby and the delicious smells wafting out of the restaurant. I realize this place just might be a little slice of heaven and I can’t help but reflect on one of my favorite biblical passages: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” ~ Hebrews 13:2. I look up to see a plethora of colorful wings.

After all this, Sting is in the background singing, “We’ll walk in fields of gold, we’ll walk in fields of gold”. Coincidence? I think not. I now know it’s heaven.

I’m wondering if my hubby would mind if I stayed over one more night …