Magical Eight Hour Airport Wait

Returning home with my youngest daughter, Mirra, from her “looks good” follow-up to surgery appointment at Shriners Children’s Hospital in Chicago did not go as expected.

“No, you can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.” – Rolling Stones

Mirra and I were supposed to catch an afternoon flight that would land us in Rochester before 5:00 pm. With a short 45 minute drive home from Rochester, we expected to be back in time for me to engage in supper preparation before watching the season premiere of Survivor.

What actually happened was numerous delays that resulted in our flight leaving Chicago O’hare at 10:45 pm arriving at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport (not Rochester) after midnight, hubby spending over an hour trying to locate Mirra and myself upon arrival, and a two hour ride home that included a police officer giving us a warning for a burnt out high beam.

So how can a Murphy’s Law day on steroids be magical? The answer lies in the miracles of three M’s: Mirra, meals, and meetings.

Mirra: My beautiful Mirra! Not one complaint during the entire 8 hours. She was happy and upbeat even when I grew weary. At 10:00 pm, as my eyes were starting to close, Mirra rubbed my back and spoke words of encouragement that brought me back into a state of alertness. At 10:14 pm Mirra said, “This was fun!” At 10:15 pm, with only fifteen minutes left until boarding, she was fast asleep.

But, she was right. It had been a fun. We played cards, played more cards, talked, laughed, and sang. Yes, sang! In one of the semi-deserted hallways with an available electrical outlet while charging my not-so-smart phone with a not-so-long-lasting battery, we sang along with Jason Mraz. The thought ever so slightly crossed my mind of setting out a hat, except that I didn’t have a hat, to collect money from passersby, except passersby were few and far between. That was the second time we spent charging my phone on the floor.

The first time was at a much more populated location, with powerless people circling us longing to recharge. I think the idea for the television show, Revolution, came from a writer being stranded at an airport. I was unwilling to continue watching Revolution after the first few gratuitously violent episodes, but the gist of the story is that everyone is searching for power, both energetic and political.

So why charge if we were having so much nontechnical fun? Confession, I interacted a bit on Facebook, too. Including sharing with Mirra inspirational meme’s narrated in a monotone voice and a smiling squirrel with overstuffed cheeks that gave us both a chuckle.

Several hours into our wait, I posted this exchange to my Facebook page:
Mirra: Something good is going to happen.
Me: Why?
Mirra: Because we have to wait.

Meals: Mirra and I each had a yummy Chili’s guacamole burger (sans bun) with delicious steamed broccoli. To kill time, I ate my meal as slow as Mirra, chewing my food a whopping and digestively pleasing 30 times, thinking that appropriate mastication somehow offsets the quality of beef ingested. It does not. Chalk it up to another one of life’s compromises, including eating raw nuts in the airport. Not soaked and dehydrated nuts, just gut rough raw nuts. For each major delay (surprisingly only two, but it seemed like more with the many smaller delays) we ate nuts. It was so fun! The fats in the nuts must have contributed to an abundant production of serotonin as evident by our happiness!

Meetings: Let’s call them encounters with three women that shared lessons of truth, compassion, and gratitude. The first was an older lady from Hawaii. She joined us on the floor by electrical outlet #1. I don’t know her name, but will call her Laverne in honor of Penny Marshall speaking to me in a recent dream (see below). Mirra and I taught Laverne how to play Go Fish. Laverne was a truth seeker, asking many questions. She shared insights of Hawaiian people. She touched my soul as I answered her questions.

[My recent dream starred not only Penny Marshall, but also Adam Levine. It emphasized the importance of me trusting and relying on my feelings. Adam Levine, wearing scrubs, worked in a hospital. Like a bad music video, he overheard a drug deal gone wrong in the hospital stairwell. He ended up getting shot in the abdomen, but not fatally. Once he discovered he was bleeding, he was determined to find his mom, Penny Marshall, who happened to be a patient in the same hospital. When Adam Levine walked into her hospital room, Penny Marshall bolted straight up in her bed, made eye contact with me, and said, “I HEART!”. Even though she was speaking, I could also see her words in all capital letters, not the symbol of a heart. She continued, “I HEART, I feel, not I think.” I woke up with a warm, loving sensation in my heart.]

Next was a young lady at the snack stand where I purchased our second bag of airplane delay celebratory nuts. She was excited about the thunderstorms, sharing the need for her boyfriend to pick her up at the end of her shift because she lacked an umbrella. She leaned far over the counter while sharing her story and spoke to my soul as I listened. I will call her Molly, maybe because at one point in my life I resembled Molly Ringwald.

The third elegant woman, more my age, had teenage boys that sat behind us on the plane, although we did not speak on the plane. When Mirra and I were waiting for John to locate us in the airport terminal, this woman shared her happiness at the completion of their 22 hours of traveling. Her gratitude lifted my spirits as I shared in her joy. I don’t know her name either, but Priya popped into my head. Priya means “beloved” in Sanskrit.

“Everybody is a story.” – Rachel Naomi Remen

Mirra was right again. Something good did happen. While I grew tired with the many delays, my heart felt surprisingly and consistently peaceful and happy. Never in my wildest dreams did I think spending eight hours in an airport would end up being fun! So happy to have connected with Mirra, meals, the three women, and friends on Facebook! (One Facebook friend even offered to drive from Iowa to Chicago, pick us up, and deliver us in Minnesota. Amazingly generous!)

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