Thursday, August 23, 2012

Standing By

The past 20 hours have been filled with so many oddities and strang-tastic moments its hard to believe. This is mostly due to me sitting in an airport for approximately 15 hours today.

It's not often you get the opportunity to fly standby, unless someone in your family is in the airline business. My first experience started off pretty grand and I got on the first flight I could have gotten on to Portland. 

The second experience was a little different. The first flight came and went. So did the second. As did the third. And then the final one was gone.
In this time span some pretty interesting things happened. I got some wonderful suggestions from some magnificent deviant friends to do some rather silly things. To name a few...

Stretch infront of people
Follow someone around and copy what they do
Sit by someone while they are reading and read their book while they read it
Wave and shout hello or affirmations to random people who passed by
Stick your tongue out when people look at you
Stop and tuck in your shirt and then untuck it in walking traffic

Now these were all super fun to do, especially because some people got a laugh out of it I am sure, but I also noticed some other items of interest about the standby passengers 

A woman crying because she didn't get on the plane
A man who is an employ of American Airlines who had to buy $400 ticket from another airlines because he couldn't get on a flight from his own company
People forming a temporary community because of their situation of distress
Having no where to go after not getting on any of the flights
A woman in her seventies who had been in the airport for two days because she could not get on a flight. She said this "Just because we are discounted flyers, they seem to punish us for not flying normally."

I learned quite a bit about this system today. Apparently, since fuel prices have gone up, the flight companies have decided to become more "efficient." Thus they have cut down on the number of flights and are now legally allowed to overbook flights. Infact, the flight companies have become so good at scheduling flights, that most flights are generally over booked. This makes it virtually impossible for standby fliers to get on a plane unless someone doesn't show up, which isn't often. This leaves people stranded in airports, cities that they do not know, and leave them under the ever hungry jaws of overpriced living arrangements that many standby fliers can't afford, thus the reason they are often on standby.

What if. hmm. What if there was an intentional Christian dedicated to the purpose of aiding our brothers and sisters who have been abandoned? What if there was a way where we could take them in, give them a place to stay that is free or fair at least, a place of hospitality, love, and justice? A place where they could be embraced and let them be known that they are not forgotten and not alone. Heck, what if this was true at ever major airport that happens in the country? 
How would peoples perspectives of a religion that many consider to be judgmental and hypocritical be changed? How would their lives be affected? Would they seek to embrace light because others brought it to them through this act?

As I ponder all this, I reminded that the Kingdom works in so many amazing and mysterious ways, that ideas and dreams are inspired by a divine and moving spirit, and that motion begins when there is a push, or in this case, a need.

Holy Spirit, move us, set us in motion, allow us to hear you call Lord to a place beyond loneliness to a place of warm embrace by the love you have passed onto us. Amen

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