A few days ago, my daughter, Alexandra, flew from New York to spend the Christmas holiday with us. What seemed to be a pretty simple plan – fly from LaGuardia to Medford, Oregon – proved to be anything but. After arriving at the airport (via taxi because of all the bags she was carrying) she was told by the agent at the US Airways counter that her flight had been cancelled. The agent then told her that they would put her on a flight out the next day. ”No… I need to get home today” Alexandra told the agent. In short order, the agent told her that she could get on a flight that day… but that flight was out of JFK. ”But I just spent $55 to get here for my flight” Alex told her. ”Save your receipts and tell that to customer service… but if you want to leave today, you need to get to JFK,” was the reply.
Alexandra did as she was advised and took a cab to JFK in plenty of time to board the plane for the west coast, but as sometimes happens, that flight was delayed for more than an hour. That would not have been a problem if that one flight had led to her ultimate destination, but unfortunately, it did not. When the plane finally arrived in San Francisco, Alexandra and another passenger ran for the Medford flight… thrilled to find that it was delayed and still at the gate. They happily boarded thinking that they would only arrive twenty minutes later than their originally scheduled time. But that didn’t happen either. Instead, for numerous reasons too mundane to relate, the plane did not take off for almost two hours! When Alexandra and I last spoke I told her that I would pay for her cab because I couldn’t stay awake waiting for her any longer.
The next morning Alex shared the details of the trip… and the delightful seat-mate that she had met who took her home when they finally arrived in Medford. My grateful heart wanted to thank that woman for taking care of my daughter in the wee hours of the morning… and so, I made a pie. I gathered apples, walnuts, and raisins and a crumb topping and in short order had a pie in the oven. Later that day, Alex and I drove to the woman’s home… and discovered that she had moved into the home where Alexandra’s singing coach used to live. What a small world… and what a wonderful coincidence!
A few days after Alexandra arrived home, she, her Dad, and I, packed up the car and drove to Missoula, Montana where her brother, Coco lives, so that we could all spend the holiday together. On our journey here, we spent the night with friends, Shawn and Catherine, in the Dalles laughing, playing “Last Word“, and sipping red wine. Yesterday we drove the last 400 miles or so, listening to the book “Cutting for Stone” on the CD player. We realized last night that it has been 4 years since we were all together for Christmas. We are enjoying this snowy Christmas eve in a warm kitchen, listening to old vinyl records, while Daddy Emile prepares the turkey for our feast. I feel pretty darned lucky right now.
To close, I want to share these few words from a book entitled “Have a little faith” by Mitch Albom. I love his stories (Tuesdays with Morrie,The Five People You Meet in Heaven) and this one is just as good, but is a true story. In the epilogue, he shares this memory. He is talking with the Rabbi and asks him what he would do if he had five minutes alone with God. The Rabbi says that with the first minute he would ask God to help his family members. With the next three minutes he would ask God to counsel those who were suffering. And then Mitch asks, what about that last minute? And the Rabbi says this is what he would say:
“Look, Lord, I’ve done X amount of good things on earth. I have tried to follow your teachings and to pass them on. I have loved my family. I’ve been part of a community. And I have been, I think, fairly good to people.
“So, Heavenly Father, for all this, what is my reward?”
And Mitch asks, “what do you think God will say?”
“He’ll say, “Reward? What Reward? That’s what you were supposed to do!” And then Mitch and the Rabbi laugh together for a long while.
Tonight, I send you my best wishes for a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and whatever it is that you celebrate with the people you love.
Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart. ~ Confusious