I currently chair a national Armenian women’s organization that helps sustain our cultural heritage, develop Armenian women leaders and support Armenian families around the world. Some would call it a sorority, but I consider it much deeper and stronger than that. However, one similarity is that fellow members call each other ‘sisters.’
And let’s just say that my fellow ‘sisters’ and I had an interesting travel adventure this past week, to say the least. As I write, we national officers are on the final leg of a very long trip across multiple cities and airlines.
In two weeks, we visited five chapters of our organization across the east and midwest. On our most recent trip, we had to travel through seven cities to visit three chapters. We missed two flights due to weather and plane delays. We were twice told the planes would be held for us, only to see the plane slowly back away from the gate the minute we got there, after we ran — yes, ran — through multiple terminals.
The gate agent on one end said, “Oh yes, we called already; they’re holding the flight for you; go, go, go!”
The gate agent on the other end said, “We never got a call…”
These and other snafus resulted in two unexpected overnight stays in two different, non-visitation cities.
“But you can get your luggage at Terminal E….” And a half hour later:
“Oh, no your luggage isn’t at Terminal E; it’s at Terminal C, and you can’t access it until tomorrow.”
Then we were delayed 2.5 hrs on another flight because the pilot never showed up and the airline had to search for another pilot last minute.
In another case, our flight was delayed 4.5 hours because Vice President Joe Biden was landing at the airport on Air Force Two for a last minute visit, grounding all scheduled flights for the entire morning.
Sometimes, our luggage made it to our destinations when we did; in other cases it did not. At one point, we got our luggage after being redirected multiple times, only to open two suitcases to find the contents soaking wet — apparently left out in the thunderous New England rain. Two of my officers caught colds and also injured their back and shoulder. And I’m not sure we ever slept more than 4 hours on any given night — and not always in a bed.
Those who have seen the film, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, about a frazzled father and his unexpected friend, overcoming hurdle after hurdle, trying to make it home for Thanksgiving, will certainly understand the frustrations we felt.
But we love our ‘sisters.’
That’s what kept coming back to our minds.
But we love our sisters, our fellow members. And we did not want anything to get in the way of our visiting them, after they had been planning and preparing for weeks with warm anticipation.
Sure enough, the visits to the gals of Worcester, Providence, Boston, Milwaukee and Chicago, were some of the loveliest, laughter-filled times we’ve ever had in the organization. Truly, we will never forget them. Those loving times of warm welcome and fellowship, celebration of common history, partnership in a shared vision — and laughter about all our craziness, into the wee hours — are what our organization is all about. They are what service and friendship are all about.
When our relationships, life situations, or writing projects take us on all sorts of unexpected delays, detours, or outright stoppages, we have to remember:
But this is who I love; this is what I love; this is why and how I love.
And that sense of love-centered purpose is what enables us to keep going, to see the journey through to completion — and to be grateful, especially as Thanksgiving nears. The pockets of love that we open along the way of a disjointed journey are worth all the headaches. Most of the time.
But don’t get me wrong: I’m still writing a few letters to United Airlines and US Airways. Soon as I finish this blog. They’re gonna have to show me some love too.
P.S. My book BRAVURA is out on Kindle — the first in the “The Music We Made” series about a group of classical musicians in 1960’s London. You can order it here. Downloads are free through 10/20!!