I inherently understand the concept of acceptance and know that it is typically the best answer to all my worries, frets, and fears. The problem is truly accepting acceptance (do you see what I did, there?). As a consultant who travels all over the country, and beyond, for work, I have come to understand the sketchy nature of air travel. Flights are canceled, maintenance issues crop up, weather delays beget missed connections, etc. You could say I have come to accept that there will be delays and cancellations. I just prefer that those things don’t mess with my work. One of my biggest fears in consulting is missing a start time for a job I have accepted. Enter this morning’s adventure.
I had a flight scheduled from Tucson through Denver to Detroit. All was going well, despite having to leave the house at 4:15 (yes, a.m.). That is a time, by the way, at which even the most rambunctious Lab puppy named Kirby blinks his eyes as he sits up in bed to ask me, “What in the world are you doing up at this time of the morning?” and then promptly curls back in bed. I had checked my bags (after all, I will be gone from home for 2 whole weeks!), boarded the plane, and we were well on our way to Denver when I heard the sound from the flight deck that can stop my heart “Uhhhh….ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Unfortunately, we are not going to be able to land at the Denver airport. They have zero visibility right now. We are going to head back to Tucson and try to start over in a little while. We should be on the ground in about 40 minutes.” Okay, I get it. Zero visibility is not a great condition in which to land. And, I know the airline will take care of me, as I am one of their very loyal customers.
But wait. Forty minutes later, after we had landed and gotten to the gate, the captain (who looks so young, he might be the captain of his high school swim team) comes out and announces, “Maintenance is here and they should be able to fix the problem in just a few moments.” Wait, what? There was zero visibility in Denver. Is maintenance going to do a quick repair on the fog in Denver…from Tucson, no less??? Maybe the captain needs to get the story straight before he makes the announcement.
Remarkably, every victim, I mean passenger, on the plane remained fairly calm. I already had been re-booked on another flight to Detroit that would “only” get me in 5 hours late. I was fairly proud that we all seemed to maintain some semblance of acceptance. Other than the Captain Communication needing to work a bit on his delivery, everyone will be just fine, I surmise.
Thinking about acceptance reminded me of a story I heard a couple of days ago. The story was about a young man who wanted nothing more than to fly fighter jets. He went to his physical and, when asked if he had any health problems, chose not to inform them he had asthma. He went off to Vietnam as a fighter pilot and was shot down. He was taken prisoner and spent seven years as a POW in Hanoi. He talked about being completely separated from the rest of the American soldiers for the first two years before he was allowed to be near other POWs. The men learned how to tap-talk to one another, a sort of primitive Morse code. He told of horrific things he saw, heard and experienced in those seven years. When asked if he regretted fibbing about his asthma, he replied, “I guess things turned out the way things were supposed to turn out.” Wow! Talk about acceptance. Right after that, I heard a teacher saying he was frustrated with his class schedule. He said, “I only have one free period to be in my classroom alone, and for three days out of the week, there will be a Latin class taught in my classroom during that time.” After saying that, he paused and said, “I think it will all be alright, thought.”
I guess acceptance sometimes comes from a renewed perspective.
I hope and pray everyone has a fantastic start to the school year. Accept the things you cannot change, change the things you can, and be wise enough to know the difference.