Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Best Person to Sit by on a Plane and Why You're Flying All Wrong

It's that time again. The time when airports around the nation are going to be flooded with college students going home for the summer. Businessmen, watch out. Especially if you fly Southwest and have to choose your seat when you get on the plane.

The competition is on.

If you can't get an Emergency Exit aisle with all that extra leg room, where can you sit? How do you pre-screen your seatmate to predict how bearable your flight is going to be? Oh man. And you forgot your iPod this time. This is going to be a long flight.

Well, have no fear. I can help. There is a passenger demographic that is far too easily overlooked in the airport. This type of person is the perfect plane partner and makes the best seatmate. Your flying experience will never be the same.

The seatmate you want to look for is an eight year kid with a lanyard around his neck. That's right. You're looking for the child that is flying solo.

You may be thinking, "Sarah. You are crazy. Why would I want to spend over an hour with an unsupervised miniature human? Children are messy, loud, they have no concept of personal space, and the seats on the planes are not getting any bigger. What are you thinking?!?"

I'm so glad you asked.

Children who fly alone are generally pros. They typically come from a divorce situation where one parent lives in the Midwest and another lives in Florida (don't ask me why, that's just usually how it works, although sometimes it's California rather than Florida). That means these kids make these trips as often as every other weekend or as infrequently as once a month. They are pros. You think YOU have frequent flyer miles? You have nothing on this toothless kid.

Now for the best part - these kids (from now on, we will refer to them as KWFMTY, or "Kids Who Fly More Than You") get preferential treatment. The flight attendants check on them regularly, the pilot usually talks about little Timmy on the intercom, and everyone treats KWFMTY like a celebrity. Which means YOU, Mr. or Ms. Seatmate, will be treated like a celebrity too.

Now if you are the kind of person who loves having an allergic reaction when the flight attendant accidentally gives you peanuts when you ask for pretzels or if you love being without a pillow or blanket when you ask the flight attendant five times to "please, kindly, if it wouldn't be any inconvenience, but I'm freezing, please" to get you one, then this is not a good option for you. Because if you do sit by a KWFMTY, you will probably get three bags of pretzels, two blankets, and a partridge in a pear tree to complement your two free refills of ginger ale.

That's right. You will be treated like a celebrity too. You may even get to take a picture with the kid and the pilot for the kid's Flight Scrapbook. You just never know. The perks are endless, really.

Now, again, the choice is yours. But I just want you to know that you have some pretty great options this flying season, and those options can usually be spotted sporting pigtails or heelies.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Heights of the Earth

Sometimes I find myself growing nostalgic. Wishing I could hit "rewind" and be transported back to my childhood days or to a point in my life that is encompassed by fond memories. Then I think of all that I have yet to experience - all that is yet to be seen, all that is yet to come.

Don't get me wrong - I love this stage of my life. I love the people in my life. I am infinitely blessed. Yet at times, I play the "what if" game and allow my imagination to transform my reality.

I wonder what my life would be like if I were still in Illinois. I think about how different I would be and how many opportunities I would be without, yet wonder what opportunities I would have. I know that I would be different person and my life's journey would be completely changed.

Yet I reflect on how God has intertwined my past and my present - how God used HoneyRock last summer, how God continues to connect my two worlds, and I see that He is working it all out.

And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:17)

I read about the faith journeys of friends from around the country and around the globe and anticipate great things from my great God in my own life in the days at hand and in the days to come. I am certain that there are great things in store - because life is an adventure - and I serve an adventurous God.

From this time forth I announce to you new things, hidden things that you have not known. (Isaiah 48:6)

I am not afraid of the unknown but hopeful. Every moment is unknown, really. I have plans for my day, plans for my week, plans for my life. But in truth, that's all that they are - plans. I will never be able to concoct an adventure great enough to satisfy myself. But my God is a God of action and movement. God alone has the power to stir up events in my life into the most incredible adventure story ever written. He can do that for each of us if we let Him work and move in our lives. If we only let go of the illusion that we have any semblance of control over our lives, God will surprise us in mighty ways.

Then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth. (Isaiah 58:14)

I'm running. Hopefully in a direction away from my own selfish desires and towards the face of my Lord.

The Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. (Isaiah 60:2b)

I know that with faith, I can move mountains. And though I cannot always see God, I hope in His name, because of the faith which He has given me.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

I am resolving to look ahead with hope and joy - reflecting on sweet memories with thanks and praise to my God, my caring Father, who is the giver of good gifts.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is not variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)