“Hmm”, he took my boarding pass, “let me just upgrade you to business class.”
I was at the boarding gate and I was in a blur. It was all somewhat chaotic.
I’ve had a ten-hour transit in Dubai, so I ran out to take a day tour on the open-top bus and barely made it back to the airport for my connecting flight to London, only to find out mechanical trouble has forced a two-hour delay. Many upset people. We were all given a round of free drinks.
(Travel drama was to become the theme of my twenties adventure.)
I was very puzzled by the class upgrade as I had not requested for it even though I could do with some business class service and great seats for my much shattered body! But let’s just say I was at that vulnerable stage of my faith — yes oh me of little faith — that I couldn’t rest in God’s love on me.
It was my maiden flight out to London from Australia via Singapore and Dubai. It was to spark off the global adventure that defined my twenties.
But guess what? I spent most of the flight worrying if the mechanical trouble will act up again and if I was to die in a plane crash and therefore, this last luxury supper. It bugged me sick in my stomach so much so that I just had to down a bottle of red wine to knock myself out for seven hours.
“Excuse me”, I was woken up by a little tap, “we have arrived in London.”
“June 6th, 2007
BY GOD’S GRACE (capitalboldhighlight) I made it to my train to Glasgow by a whisker and actually, I still can’t quite believe I made it. My train was to depart at 10:28 am, I arrived at the station’s lobby at 10:27:30!
The trouble was I had a luggage, so I can’t do my usual sprints and by the time I got to my platform — and I was still about 100m to my train — the train’s whistle had gone off! Those dying seconds of scurrying onboard is a complete blur to me now and all I can remember is that I got on board, period.
Rewind: So the 9:15am bus from my place to the train station decided not to run.
The next bus arrived thirty minutes later for an hour ride from my family’s at Hertfordshire to London Euston station, I was bound to miss my train.
By the time I got on the bus, I was so sure it was a goner that I SOS across 10,000 miles to K to help me retrieve the number for Virgin Trains on the web from her laptop (having internet data on phone was not common back then).
I rang them up hoping to change my ticket, but nope, not allowed. So if I were to miss that train, I would have to forfeit my ticket and purchase a new ticket for the next train which would cost me an additional 40 quid!
I was upset and started grimacing. It’s the whole fear factor bigger than my conviction factor thing in retrospect.
I was questioning, maybe I’m not meant to go or to do this and then why. Until I heard that familiar voice, rather loudly this time: ‘Why don’t you just trust?’
Ashamedly, I replied, ‘I don’t think I can!’ (I was dead sure I wasn’t going to make the train you see.) To my willfulness, I was replied this: ‘Trust and you will see the full revelation of My love’.
Well, if you put yourself in my shoes, at that time, I definitely did not find it comforting as much as it sounds all warm and fuzzy journaling this now on hindsight. But the moment — the moment — I leapt on board my train, I was completely silenced and felt utterly ashamed of my unbelief.
But God is all about love, even when He chastens, love anchors it.
So through the whole saga, I definitely felt armed that I’m positioned in His shadow and I am meant to be where I am.”
Only the drama didn’t stop there.
In the final hour of the journey, the train came to a halt as the train ahead had broken down and the whole rail network was delayed as a result. The delay eventually came up to 2 hours 40 minutes and Virgin Trains had a policy to issue a full refund for any journey delayed over two hours. So, not only did I catch my train, I also ended up having a free ride to Glasgow.
The delay was not a big deal to me because I could afford the time to be delayed, and I met great company on board: two Scottish senior citizens and a Literature undergraduate from Manchester. The four of us spent the couple of hours playing crossword puzzles, musing on History, Literature, and the F-word: Football.
All of which I love very much.
When I finally arrived in Glasgow after a whole day of travel and just when I thought my dramatic day had come to an end — lo and behold — it hasn’t.
The hotel reception checked me in to a room which was already occupied. Walking into a hotel room to hear a man singing in the shower was both amusing and unsettling at the same time. Nevertheless, I soon learnt that slip up by the hotel reception is considered an industry catastrophe.
I was promptly given a free drink at the hotel bar and — wait for it — a free upgrade to an executive suite room for the night.
My travel-battered body was happy. I needed a quick full recovery as I had traveled to Glasgow for my maiden sports media gig of twelve long days. Fortunately it was a sport I was familiar with — badminton — having played it competitively for college. (Or so I thought, but I was soon to be opened doors to a world, an alternative universe almost, beyond my imagination.)
I dropped onto the big bed that night knowing my soul is well-loved. That He watches over me. That He may just be crazy about me. That I’ve inched another step closer to comprehending the full revelation of His love. That for all my unbelief, He remains unwaveringly faithful — His favour covers.
Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life
“Would you come with me and just forget the world?”
This story is part of the #livebig series here.