Recently I was in New York City, trolling a huge toy fair trying to find suitable toys for kids on the spectrum. This is my favorite part of working at National Autism Resources. I love to find new things, fun things, helpful things, things I wish I would've had. The good news is I found about five new things, which is a lot for me!
On the last day of the show I realized I hadn't seen a large part of the show. I woke up early, downed some coffee and headed to the show. I moved quickly from booth to booth and as I made progress I decided to to skip lunch and see if I could finish seeing everything. By two o'clock I was done, I grabbed my coat, and started for the taxi.
I decided to go to the airport early and eat at one of the restaurants there. Before I got to the taxi stand I noticed a line for the shuttle, it was due to leave for the airport. So I bought a ticket and waited for the shuttle. The shuttle was fifteen minutes late, then thirty, then forty and soon it was over an hour late. People started getting angry.
Over an hour later, we find out the shuttle has broken down and another one is on the way. Now I've gone from getting to the airport early, to arriving on time. I took a deep breath and felt peaceful. After all, what's the worse that could happen? I miss my flight, and have to reschedule another one. When the shuttle shows up its ninety minutes late and many in our group are loud and angry. A man standing next to me turned and said, "you don't seem to be too upset."
I replied, "I'm not. Getting upset won't get me to the airport earlier, so I'm not worried."
He introduced himself and asked for my card. When he saw what I did he became very excited and asked if he could show me his online platform, that he thought autistic kids would love. I said sure and at 4:00pm our shuttle showed up and we moved into NYC rush hour traffic.
The man introduced himself as Gaston and proceeded to tell me all about his online platform, how it started, why it started and what made it special. At one point he lamented that he couldn't show me any video, so I took out my I phone and he showed me every video he had. After awhile it became apparent that Gaston had run out of things to say.
At 4:30 we started to talk about personal things. I shared with him about my life, my children and the peace I have that comes from God. He shared how he constantly felt angry/guilty/angry with God. How he was going to have a child and decided that she would grow up without knowing God. So for the next half hour I talked to him about God's goodness, kindness, patience and love. By the time we got to the airport, my plane was do to leave in 45 minutes. I quickly grabbed my suitcase, Gaston wished me well as I ran into the terminal.
I didn't have my ticket printed and there was a huge line. Fortunately, I pulled up my receipt on my phone and showed it to a JetBlue attendant. He walked over and printed my ticket and walked me over to security. (It pays to travel like crazy!) I thought, my goodness I may make my flight, and then we turned the corner and saw the security line, the attendant said, "I'm sorry but I can't help you with this!"
I stood in line and silently thanked God for getting me this far and for the chance to talk to Gaston even if I miss my flight. As soon as I finished the prayer a new section of security opened and my line broke in half! Wow, I thought, "I just might make it" and then the line broke again. I walked straight and turned to a line with only three people in it! I prayed, "thank you Lord, I think I will make it." When it was my turn I was really happy, and then I heard the a man say, "you've been randomly selected for a security check."
Oh no, really, I'm this close.. I was bummed as I stepped out of line. An officer walked me to a side machine, wiped my hands with a piece of paper, tested it under a laser and pronounced "You're fine to go."
I grabbed my stuff and started running to my terminal. I heard them starting to board my flight. By this time I was so hungry I quickly prayed, "please help me Lord" and ran through an airport shop grabbed a salad, payed cash and kept running. By the time I got to my terminal I was the last in line to board my section of the flight.
I sat down winded, but so thankful. My plan was to leave early and have a nice dinner at the airport, but God wanted me to talk to Gaston. Had the shuttle not been late we never would have met. Had the shuttle not been stuck in rush hour traffic we never would have had the time to talk about spiritual things. God let me spend absolutely as much time as possible talking to Gaston about His goodness.
I wish I could say I'm always patient, always peaceful, but my friends that's not the case. Even as I sit here I wonder how many times I've lost out on being used by God because I was unwilling to let my plans be interrupted.
Proverbs 16:9 says: In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.