The older I get, the more I realize how much grace I've been granted - how often I've been protected from harm, from making poor choices, from getting what I thought I wanted, from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Every time I pass a car accident that has just happened, I realize that some element of grace kept me from being there in that spot at the time. And, hardest of all, I've realized that so often when I thought things were going wrong, they were actually going right. And then there are the times when I was put in exactly the right place at precisely the right time - that's grace too.
I have a quick example from our experience with flying from Albuquerque to Indiana this past week. I'd booked us on American Airlines flights some time ago. Our itinerary had us leaving at about 6:30am, connecting through Dallas with a short layover, and arriving in Fort Wayne, Indiana at 5:30pm.
About a month ago, American notified us that our itinerary had been changed. Now our flight out of Albuquerque wouldn't leave until 12:30, we'd have a four hour layover in Dallas, and get to Fort Wayne at 10:30pm. This meant we'd have to get a hotel room in Ft. Wayne, instead of being able to drive to Elkhart the day of arrival.
I was annoyed and told AA that I had paid for a certain itinerary and I didn't understand why airlines are the only business where you can pay for one specific itinerary, and it's perfectly okay for them to give you something completely different. The example I gave them was if I sold them my 40 inch TV for $1000, but gave them a 19 inch TV instead. And, I said, they caused me to have to incur the extra expense of a hotel room that first night. Someone in customer service acknowledged my point and awarded us some extra airline mileage. But the itinerary itself couldn't be changed, because AA had completely changed their flight schedule.
Flash forward to this past week. On Tuesday, tornadoes hit the Dallas area, cancelling flights on Tuesday afternoon and on Wednesday morning. The ONLY flight that went from Albuquerque to Dallas on Wednesday - our flight day - was the 12:30 flight we'd been moved to when AA changed our itinerary a month ago. Because of our later itinerary, the flight from Dallas to Fort Wayne left with no problems at 7:05pm.
Had we still been booked on the earlier flight, it would have been cancelled. Who knows if we'd have been able to get on the later flight that day? Or on one the next? The whole start of our RV adventure would have been discombobulated. The annoying itinerary change actually worked out to our benefit when the day of travel came. That's grace.
So, next time you think you've been inconvenienced, take a breath. Maybe you're really being protected. I'll try to remember that too - it's usually something you only realize in retrospect.
Do you have some examples of grace to share?
P.S. If you've been following our RV adventure and didn't see my F post, take a look - I've put up the first pictures of us in our new RV home.