Monday, February 6, 2012

Airport Revelation

A fictional story of how one woman's life was changed in an airport.

Gladys was looking forward to the vacation. She was flying to New York to see her daughter and grandchildren. Her husband was unable to join her and she was furious with him; but he sent her to the airport with his love and gifts for the grandchildren. After going through security and locating the gate, she walked through the over-priced gift shops and managed to leave without purchasing anything. As she passed the windows, she noticed the darkening sky. Inclement weather had been predicted and the possibility of delayed flights had been announced over the airport intercom.

Gladys walked into one of the restaurants and seated herself at a table in the corner.
"My name is Courtney and I'll be your waitress today. Are you ready to order?" The young waitress asked.
"I'd like a grilled chicken salad and unsweet iced tea, please."
"Sure thing. I'll have it right out."
Gladys watched the other customers in the restaurant. She had always been able to entertain herself by watching people. "People are the funniest animals God made." She had once remarked to a friend.

The couple in the opposite corner seemed to be arguing about something. Take it home, would you. Who cares about your problems? Gladys thought as she watched them. A few tables to her left a young couple was making eyes at each other as if no one else was in the restaurant. Oh get a room already. The parents at the middle table were having a difficult time with a fussy toddler. I hope they are not on my flight, Gladys thought.

Courtney returned with the iced tea, placed it on the table and left. Gladys took a sip and discovered it was soured, something that turned her stomach. I'm not surprised. She didn't look like she could walk and talk at the same time. I'll have her bring a fresh glass when she returns.

Anger was showing on the face of the woman in the opposite corner. Her words were still inaudible, but getting louder by the minute. She was clearly upset with her table mate. He made gestures with his hands to calm her, but his effort was futile. She is too mad at you buddy. I don't know what you did, but you will pay for it.

Courtney returned with the salad, placed it on the table and turned to leave. "Just a minute." Gladys said. "My tea is soured. Please bring me a fresh glass." Courtney picked up the glass and returned to the kitchen.

"I'm tired of your broken promises." Gladys heard the woman in the corner say. Again the man made calming gestures with his hands. Give it to him, baby. Don't take anything off him. He's not worth it. No man is.

The toddler was throwing food at his parents, who were becoming increasingly aggitated. Can't you control your child?

Courtney returned with a fresh glass of iced tea. "Here you go. I'm sorry about the first glass. I just came on duty and didn't have time to check it before I served you." I'm really not interested in your excuses. Courtney left the table.

Gladys took a bite of her salad. The chicken was cold and the lettuce was warm. Certainly not worth the price. Gladys ate about half of the salad and drank most of the tea before leaving a very small tip and paying the ticket.

Gladys had just arrived at the gate when she heard an announcement. "Flights 1789, 2889, and 1598 are delayed due to inclement weather." Great. Just what I need, more time in this zoo. Gladys sat down and pulled the Kindle from her purse. Reading in a loud public place was difficult for her but there was nothing else to occupy her time. She looked out the window and knew from the looks of the sky that her flight would be delayed for hours.

After an hour of reading--or rather trying to, Gladys walked to the ladies room, which was surprisingly quiet. There was only one other stall in use. As Gladys was washing her hands, the stall opened and Courtney walked out. Oh great! Just what I need for a perfect day. A ditzy waitress who can't even bring a plate of food to the table without mishaps.

Courtney smiled at Gladys in the mirror. "Oh hi. I remember you from the restaurant. I'm sorry about the tea. It is supposed to be made fresh every hour, but I guess someone forgot."

"That's alright. I lived through it." Gladys said in her usual sarcastic tone. But it certainly didn't help my mood.

At that moment they heard a tremendous crash on the other side of the bathroom door. People were screaming and crying. The sound of breaking glass cut through the screams. Then those sounds were drowned out by the sound of crashing metal. Gladys and Courtney ran to the door. Opening it they saw a scene that belonged in a disaster movie rather than real life. They saw mangled metal and broken bodies piled higher than the doorway. There was no way for them to escape the ladies room. They looked up to examine the ceiling and saw a few cracks, but nothing major. As long as the ceiling held out, they would be safe until they were rescued, which would be hours.

Gladys had a panic attack which caused her to hyperventilate. She couldn't even catch her breath enough to cry. If Courtney hadn't been looking at her, the attack would have gone unnoticed. Courtney grabbed her shoulders and pulled her to the back corner of the bathroom. Once Gladys was sitting on the floor, Courtney began to help her calm down. "Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. You are alright. You are not hurt. Breathe." Gladys slowly began to take normal breaths. Then the tears started flowing and hysteria replaced the hyperventilation.
"We are going to die." She screamed.
"You are alright. You are not hurt." Courtney repeated.
"We are going to die in here and no one knows we are here."
"We are not going to die. We are fine. God knows we are here."
"Oh well that is just great. Is He coming in here to get us?"
"He is already here."
"And just how do you know that?" Gladys screamed.
" Because I am here and He goes everywhere I go."
"Oh don't be ridiculous. What makes you so special that God goes with you every day?
"Nothing. I am not special at all."
"Then why do you think God is with you?"
"Because when I was a little girl, I accepted Him as my Savior."
Slowly Gladys was able to gain control of her emotions. "You did what?"
"I accepted Him as my Savior."
"Why did you do that?"
"I am a sinner which means I can't get into heaven when I die."
"You don't look much like a sinner."
"What does a sinner look like?"
"You know. A murderer or rapist. Someone who breaks the law and hurts other people."
Courtney laughed. "Well, I will admit that I am not that kind of sinner. But I am a sinner. Everyone is. Romans 3:23 says For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:10 says There is no one righteous, not even one. Romans 6:22 and 23 says For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. That means that no one is good enough to enter heaven on his own."
"Well that's a little insulting, don't you think?" Gladys asked indignantly.
"Not as insulting as denying Christ who gave His life that we might go to heaven. John 3:16 says For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Denying Him after He gave His life for us is the greatest insult of all."
"I'm not denying that He died. Everyone knows that."
"I'm talking about refusing to accept Him as Savior."
"Why do I need to do that?"
"Because you are sinner."
"Oh thanks. It's not enough that ruined my lunch, now you have to question my character."
"I'm not questioning your character. I’m stating what the Bible says. All are sinners and the only way to be forgiven of those sins is to ask Christ. He will forgive you of your sins. You will be justified. That means just as if you've never sinned. So when you die, you will go to heaven because you have no sin on your back. Christ took it for you."
"Well that is all fine and good when I die, but what about right now when we are trapped in a bathroom."
"When Christ comes into your heart, He will provide you with peace and contentment. You can be assured that He will always be there for you. Philippians 4:19 says But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. All you have to do is trust Him."
"There has to be more to it than that."
"There isn't. You simply place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and leave the rest to Him. Would you like to do that today?"
"How do I start?"
"Bow your head and I will lead you in prayer. Lord, thank you for sending Gladys to me today. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share Your love with her. Please help her as she places her trust in You. Be a comfort to her heart. Please keep us safe until the rescuers come today. Amen."
Gladys started a little hesitantly.  "Lord, thank you for sending Courtney to talk to me. I ask you to forgive me of my sins and help me to be the person You want me to be. Help me to trust you. Courtney says that you will take care of us, but I'm still scared. Please send the rescuers soon. Amen."

It took hours for the rescue team to reach them. In the meantime Courtney sang hymns and did her best to keep Gladys calm. Gladys still struggled with her fears, but she didn't have any more panic attacks.

Upon being rescued, the women were interviewed by the media. "What did you lose in the tornadoes?"
"Not nearly as much as I found." Gladys replied with a smile.

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