If you have been reading my blog for at least 6 months you know that we had the pleasure of living on the sunny island of Okinawa, Japan or as I often referred to it "The Rock." As all good thing must come to an end, our journey back to the States began early, and I mean 3:30 AM early on July 3rd. And boy was it an adventure.
I'll set up this post by saying that to really know me is to know that 1)I speak my mind and 2) I try hard to find the positive in all situations.
Now back to our journey home. We get to the AMC termanial just before 5AM for our 7:30AM roll call which didn't even start till after 8ish and we were suppose to depart Kadena at 8:30AM. Yep it's that all too familiar hurry up and wait syndrome that is synonymous with the military. I didn't take notes but remember that we didn't even walk out to the plane till around 9:45AM and then my husband drops the bomb on me, oh by the way we have 2 layovers in mainland. Great!!!!!! We do the first layover like traveling pros as we sit on the airplane for 45 minutes while they unload and load new passengers. At the next stop, everyone has to get off as they fuel and change crews. This is only suppose to take an hour and they give us about 30 minutes to get something to eat if we want it. At this point all I remember is them giving us a 2:45PM deadline of when to be back in the waiting area. I'll fast foward to around 4:30PM when we finally got back onto the airplane with no explanation of why it took so long or even that there was going to be a delay. Nice huh. But it gets even better, after we get on board the plane doesn't even take off till 7:25 PM. During which until I started requesting food they didn't give us anything until around 7:10pm and that was only after I asked twice when were they going to feed the children since we couldn't get off the plane.Thankfully the started handing out peanuts, not much but it was something. (Now mind you that if parents didn't rush around like mad people during the layover,their children may not have been fed since breakfast!) I was greatly upset because the crew acted like we were being such a bother in asking for food to feed the kids!!!! Not to mention how the pilot continued to remind us that he and his crew had missed their connecting flights and were in the same boat as us. I wont even continue down that trail.
What, exactly, is my purpose in writing all this? Not to complain but to show you how it's all about your view point and how 1 person can really make a difference. See sitting behind the 2 rows my husband and the boys were sitting in were 4 children plus their mom who was pregnant. Please note that she was not traveling with her husband and she certainly wasn't traveling alone with 4 children that were under the age of 8. As you can imagine her kids in front of her, all three sisters, were getting a bit rowdy, needing this and that. And with being pregnant it was easy for her to get up and help them out. So guess what I did, I helped out without her asking, without worrying if she would be offended and without worrying if the kids would allow me. I started entertaining the 2 closest to me, helping them get comfortable and lent a helping hand. Something neat happened!!! All those glaring and judgmental eyes started to soften.As our 13 hour flight progressed those around these kids and mother started helping out when meals needed to be opened or kids got cranky. Heck I even saw a young service member letting one of the little girls play with his iphone as the mom slept. I don't think we ever got a thank you, but I don't think any of us helped out to be recognized. We did it to bless those children and in return bless that mom. I pray that those children will have a found memory of that flight and that seeds of kindness were planted in their hearts.
I think of that day often and praise God for allowing that mother and her children to fly with us. It would have been so easy to get wrapped up in all that was going wrong and truth be told, I did need an attitude adjustment several times. But how blessed we were that God gave us a way to take a miserable situation and glorify Him through our service to that family. I think that is what it is always about, looking at a situation and seeing how YOU can make it better; instead of throwing out criticism and judgment. What I thought was even neater is that several days before, we had a discussion in our community group about loving on children. And as this whole event unraveled in front of me, I really felt like God was saying: "Okay, now you "know" what to do but will you put it in practice." I'm certain looking back, that I could have done more, been more kind, ect but I don't think that is the point. I think the point is walking in obedience to God's love that he declared on the cross through Christ. It's about saying, "He who is without sin, cast the first stone." I know that my flesh was crying out: "she needs to get those kids under control", or "why have so many if you can't take care of them", and "why is she expecting us to take care of her children for her". But as those thoughts flooded through my very drained and tired mind, I kept reminding myself that I am only responsible for how I react to those children and that woman and I knew that God would want me to do all that I could to help those children out. So I stepped up in full faith and obedience and was greatly blessed as this attitude caught on and all those around took those children under their wings and for the time they were present in their lives, showed them kindness that I pray lingers in their hearts well into adulthood when they can look back and see how God provided for them that day!!!!
There is so much that we can't change but sadly most of what we could change we don't because our focus in inward instead of upward. The next time you are out and become critical of someone else... S-T-O-P those thoughts and ask God to guide you in a way that will impact that person's life with the presence of God through you!!!! I guarantee you will be amazed at what God can do when you have a willing heart!!!