Tom and I travel to Mexico each winter. This year we chose to revisit Puerto Vallarta. We love the mountains and the beach so it’s a favorite destination!
After a lovely start to our day which, incredibly enough, included a 2:45 am wake-up call to make it to the airport on time (we won’t ever do that again!), we made a smooth connection in Detroit. There we grabbed a quick breakfast at our favorite deli, Zingerman’s. After a smooth flight south, we landed in PV right on time.
Upon arrival, we fell into a usual pattern: Tom heads to the bathroom to change into shorts and I park myself by the carousel to watch for the luggage. Tom spotted a bathroom and mentioned changing right before pointing to the carousel which would spit out our gray suitcase marked with a neon yellow striped ribbon. I chose a good position from which to keep an eye on every piece of luggage passing by.
I was focused. But I never did see our suitcase.
Approximately 15 minutes went by. In the back of my mind I was wondering where Tom was. It sure was taking him a long time to change. And where was our luggage?
An airport employee saw me standing with my bleary eyes locked on the conveyor belt and asked if I’d gotten my luggage. After hearing my negative response she asked me to follow her so she could confirm whether or not it had made it from Detroit. It had. She then asked me to follow her to check on several piles of luggage located in various places throughout the little airport. Nothing.
And still no Tom.
I told her I had a bigger problem then finding my suitcase. I had a missing husband to find!
She led me to another desk where I was able to ask a male employee if he would please check all the bathrooms we’d passed after clearing customs. I pulled up a picture of Tom on my phone so he’d recognize him. Perhaps Tom had hit his head on the commode while changing. Or perhaps the food he’d eaten at 60,000 feet hadn’t settled well and he’d become instantly and violently sick. I was desperately seeking explanations for Tom’s sudden disappearance. The kind young employee checked all the banos and never did find my missing husband.
Panic began to rise from someplace deep within. And that’s when I heard a still, small voice whisper, “Sing to me.” I recognized the voice of the Holy Spirit. He was vying for my attention so He could calm and comfort me in a difficult situation. And so I stood by the Puerto Vallarta International Airport’s information desk singing Chris Tomlin’s Good Good Father (under my breath) as streams of happy travelers passed by with their significant others by their side.
After a full 45 minutes of separation from my husband, the kind young man who’d checked the bathrooms for me suggested I exit the airport. My husband must have already left, he explained. While his suggestion contradicted everything I knew about getting lost (you stay in the place where you were last together), I explained that Tom had my customs forms without which I couldn’t enter the country. He quickly supplied me with a new form.
After handing the customs agent my freshly filled form, I began walking through 2 separate sections of the PV Intl. Airport. And still no Tom.
Finally exiting the airport, I stepped out into the bright sunshine and there I saw my husband 25 yards ahead of me scanning the crowds with our gray suitcase in his possession. Our eyes locked. I experienced immense and immediate relief right before something more hot and destructive began bubbling up like so much lava in a volcano ready to blow.
Standing face to face with Tom I said, “I’ve only got one thing to say to you. Where the heck were you?!!!” (I didn’t actually say heck.)
I unleashed an angry assault of words describing the anguish he’d put me through. After all, he must know I couldn’t leave the airport without my customs form! And why would he leave me in there alone anyway?!!! I held nothing back.
Before I tell you the rest of the story in next week’s blog, I’d like you to think of a similar experience. Have you ever gone from fear to anger in a split second?
If you pay attention to your fears, you’ll gain understanding about the lies you believe that keep you in bondage and negatively impact your joy and the health of your marriage. Chances are, they impact you on a regular basis, not just once in a while, so there’s much to be gained by looking deeper.
I’ll share the surprising insight I received when I looked deeper into the meaning of my reaction. But that’s for next week’s blog. I hope you’ll stay tuned…
Beautiful Action Step:
Think of a time when you experienced overwhelming fear or panic. How did you respond? When have you felt that way before? What motivated your reaction?