I had hurriedly set out on a journey amid the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic, knowing that I must pass through two airports before reaching my destination. Every arrangement was perfect, and all I sincerely hoped for was to get home in good time, shed off some stress and re-calibrate myself.
The first leg of the flight was ok but as expected, it consisted of some cautions and carefulness because of the associated pandemic. The airport was almost like a graveyard since many travelers had gone into hibernation or home arrest because of the Coronavirus’ rage. In fact, I asked one of the airline officials if I would be the only one on the plane. Of course, the plane was almost empty.
I arrived at the second airport earlier than scheduled, located my next gate, and took a seat while waiting for the boarding time. Some minutes into boarding time I went to a crew member to get an updated boarding pass, and we exchanged a good smile. Suddenly, there was an announcement that our flight would be delayed, so I kept myself busy doing some other things, right in that location. Shortly after, the boarding started, and Zone 2 was called for boarding. I was assigned Zone 3, so I patiently waited for it to be called in for boarding. I knew my seat was right in the front (number 6), so there was no reason to be in a rush.
I waited for zone 3 to be called in while I attended to my business but heard nothing. They seemed to have halted the boarding, but I just assumed there must be something going on since many of us were still seated. At a point, I noticed a sudden crowd building up from everywhere, and soon enough found myself sandwiched in it. This is not unusual but depends on how large the plane is. However, with the fear of the Covid-19 pandemic and advice given to maintain about 6 feet distance from one another, I became uncomfortable. So, I stood up, walked around a bit, and went to use the bathroom right in front of my gate. I came back to still meet the people waiting to be boarded, found a seat, and sat down again. This was a major airport in the country and the mode of operation was not new to me. Whether you are in the bathroom or somewhere else, the announcement would always reach you.
The awaited announcement finally came in the following form: “now we are going to resume the boarding. Zone 2 and those with children should come forward”. I wondered what must have happened that made them stop the boarding in the first instance, but regardless continued waiting for them to call Zone 3’s group. When I did not hear any further announcement, I went to join the queue all the same. That was when I realized the plane boarding at that moment was going to another destination entirely. I pulled out immediately to go verify my flight status with customer service and what I found out was bizarre. I was simply told that my plane had left. What! For some minutes, my brain was frozen. How did that happen? Honestly, I could not tell.
The plane left right under my nose. I was simply left behind. I have had several trips and am well experienced with airport policies and procedures. I must have assumed I was so experienced that this kind of thing would never happen to me. Thinking back, at a time I was busy doing something else (legitimate and reasonable thing) which perhaps must have meddled with my attention. I unknowingly must have presumed I was still on the right track.
Anyway, arrangement was made for me immediately to join another plane which would be taking off in 9 hours. This means I was stuck in that airport for 9 hours and throughout the night. I struggled not to cry because I was so tired and worn out that I just wanted to get on the plane and get home. I picked my phone to pass the new development to my family through our group chat- but guess the message that greeted me:
“Your mummy is on her way home. She will pass through two airports, pls follow these procedures: 1. Put water in a bucket with detergent soap and disinfectant in the garage. 2. She must come through the garage and remove all her clothes into the soapy and disinfectant water. 3. Keep a big towel in the garage, she will use it and go straight into the basement to take a shower. 4. She will disinfect her luggage and leave it in the garage. 5. No greetings or embracing until she wakes up the following morning and nobody sleep with her the first night. 6. Her towel must be left in the basement soaked in soapy water. Mercy to keep a changeable cloth in the basement for her pls. 7. This procedure is my personal SOP and must be obeyed. 8. Only after this, she can go to her room to sleep. Prevention is better than cure pls and pls. Do not joke with this pls and pls.”
The pandemic had not even gotten this serious at this time. You could imagine my plight. How do I prioritize my pains; the pain of just missing my flight or the fear of not contracting Covid-19 or the fear of going through my husband’s customized SOP for my decontamination? The point is, they were all mixed.
I could not get hold of my hubby immediately but luckily was able to contact my children. Upon hearing the situation one of them said to me:
“Don’t stress yourself Mom but thank God. We don’t know why it happened that way.”
The Bible tells us to give thanks to God in everything. Who knows, maybe God was trying to save me from something on that plane. He knows better, so I must remain positive.
When I sat down in that airport all alone by myself, I sincerely looked inward, and I asked God in a humble prayer “what would you have me learn from this Lord?” In the quietness of that moment, I saw beyond the incidence. I saw the end-time events playing out clearly. Please, if you are a child of God and expectant of Christ’s coming, put thought into this account. Jesus will come when He will come and simply go with those who are ready. Our position, profession, years of experience, commitment to things of God, etc., will not matter at that moment but the diligence in watching and waiting.
It suddenly got crowded. There was a mixed multitude going to different destinations. Although the different gates situated in the area were not far apart from each other, the mixed crowd had obliterated the clear demarcation between those gates. I must have been distracted.
Dear friends, things are really getting crowded these days. Beware not to get lost in the crowd. Christianity is personal. Ask yourself questions frequently. How current am I in my walk with God? Superficial or in-depth? Fake or real? Systemic hypocrite or God affirmed transparent Christian? Church addict or God’s addict? Sometimes we get carried away doing legitimate things at the expense of our soul. Other seemingly justifiable things may divert our attention from our primary call, the call to salvation and holiness. Let us beware!
I was put on another flight which would leave 9 hours later; there is consequence for negligence. A second chance was given in my situation, but considering God’s words, there is only one life and only one rapture. What follows is the great tribulation. My experience that night of 9 hours would make another heading. We must be careful my friends.
Mistake happens, but we should never allow it to define us or spoil the rest of our days. We should rather assess the situation, draw lessons from it and move on.
Please dearly beloved brethren who have found rest and salvation in Christ, let us remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ and “WATCH”. Let us support one another in prayers and be a comfort in the life of others. And if peradventure, you find yourself struggling with temptations, trials, challenges, backsliding, etc., please do not keep it to yourself but speak out and seek help.
May the grace and mercy of our dear Lord God continue to hold us up in His Kingdom till we see His face with joy and rejoicing in Jesus’ Name. Amen!
Akinloye, O. Margaret