The Too-Warm Clothes


When I put them on, I was sure that they had been the wrong choice. I had fully expected to experience a typical PEI fall when I packed for this trip, not this pseudo summer weather I had been so blessed with over the past two days. Not that I was complaining. I was just sure that the long-sleeved sweater and polar fleece vest that I had brought to wear with my tan slacks would be too warm! Little did I know that 23 hours later, I would still be wearing those same clothes.

Everything about this trip had been storybook perfect. I hadn't encountered too much traffic on my way to the Toronto airport; my flight into Moncton was enjoyable; the rental car people were friendly, and my vehicle was comfortable. The drive to Charlottetown was pleasant; the hotel room I had reserved was easy to find and just perfect for my needs, and when I found the conference site, there was even free parking behind the hosting hotel. The town of Charlottetown, with its quaint Victorian houses, was bathed in the reds and golds that are so typical of an Atlantic fall, and its waterfront walkway was just perfect for my running ambitions. My family back in Ontario was doing just fine without me, and to top it all off, the conference I was attending had been extremely good.

But when it came time to return home, the storybook trip struck its cord of reality. My flight was due to depart from Moncton, New Brunswick, at 3:50 p.m. I left the conference room a few minutes early to ensure adequate time, and I quickly covered the 200 kilometers, arriving at the Moncton airport by 2:15 p.m. Plenty of time to return the rental car, check my luggage, and relax before my flight.

That's when I learned our flight would be delayed until 6:00 p.m.

Now Moncton is home to a beautiful little airport. Small enough to be user friendly, yet new enough to host all of the modern-day airport comforts that we have all come to expect. But when you are suddenly faced with a 3 hour airport wait, you begin to wish that you were in a place like Toronto or New York where there's more to do! I quickly resigned myself, however, to becoming intimately acquainted with the Moncton airport, and settle down to try and fill my time.

That's when the second announcement came through. Our flight would be further delayed. New ETA for our aircraft, which we learned was awaiting repairs in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and had still to fly to St. Johns, Newfoundland before coming to Moncton, was 9:55 p.m.

It didn't take a room full of mathematicians to figure out that we would be in the airport for at least eight hours, and it soon became obvious that many of my fellow passengers weren't exactly happy with the prospect of this delay. The 10$ meal voucher (which, incidentally, they had to use before the cafeteria closed at 5!) Didn't go very far to appease them. Neither did the airport personnel who cheerfully handed out coffee and blankets, despite the fact that OUR delayed plane also meant that THEY couldn't go home!

As I watched my fellow passengers, I realized that each of us had to make a decision: We could either get upset about the 8-hour delay, or we could accept it, and I could see people making both decisions. Some were going from airline to airline looking for alternate flights into Toronto, and in some cases, spending hundreds of dollars to reroute themselves. Others stalked around grumbling, striking out at airport personal and anyone else in their path. There were also those who weren't quite as vocal about their discontentment. These sat reading, but their faces let it be known to all that they, too, WEREN'T happy!

There were a few passengers, however, mingling among these grumblers, who were different. These spoke cheerfully to the waiting passengers, sympathizing with some, wrapping jackets around others, offering rides in Toronto to still others who didn't think their waiting party would be able to come and pick them up so late at night. In each case, they gently reminded everyone that somehow it would all work out for the good. It was obvious to anyone that they knew that this was all in God's hands, that He was in charge, even of plane schedules!

As I sat back, wondering which class I best fit into, I suddenly remembered my clothes. How I had grumbled that morning about having nothing cooler to wear! Then my mind began retracing my day. The air conditioning in the conference room where I had spent my morning had been up too high, and my knits and fleeces had felt really good. A breeze had picked up off the water, making my drive back into New Brunswick a little cool, and now the air conditioning was up too high here in the airport. And of course, as late as we would be arriving in Toronto, the outside air there would probably be cold too. The "too-warm" clothing had already been a real blessing, and would continue to be so until I got home, whenever that might be! As I began to thank God for the same clothing I had cursed just ten hours earlier, I realized that the same God who sent me a 2-week old weather report that caused me to pack this particular set of clothing would also bring something good out of our airport delay!

Friends, whenever we're faced with negative circumstances, we always have two choices to make. We can grumble, try to change things on our own, and in general, make everyone around us miserable; or we can choose to believe that God is in control, even in the face of bad circumstances, and be happy.

Which choice will YOU make my friend, the next time you are faced with negative circumstances? Will you let yourself become upset? Or will you thank God for making you pack those "too-warm clothes"?

In the end, the flight was further delayed by another 45 minutes, and we arrived in Toronto, aboard a freezing aircraft, at 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning. And since it was only about 5 C. in Toronto, and I had another two hours of driving to arrive home, my poor clothing were forced to "work" until 3:30 a.m., when I was finally able to replace them with some dramatically underused pajamas! How I thanked God for the fleece!

Lyn Chaffart

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