I joined the masses of escapees from the Gold Coast rain on the 6am flight Wednesday morning. A day that would start in Coolangatta and end in Cooranbong, with Avondale School’s Kindy Concert. Two holiday destinations if I have ever seen them!
They were a nondescript pair: a mother and 7 year old son. Dressed in summer clothes, a carry on bag each and even with the restrictions around masks lifted, both wearing masks. At 5:00am the airport was starting to bustle and hum with life as travellers, airline staff and other workers started to make their way through the building. It was getting busy.
For several months now, due to some quirk of technology and many failed attempts at offshore phone support, I have been unable to renew my Qantas Club membership. Sad I know. Some of you may recall my past story about how my view has changed on this membership over the years as I travel more, and spend more time waiting; always waiting.
So, with no membership these past months, I once more joined the masses in the main passenger lounge and tried to do some early morning emails and TEAMs chat. Despite the arriving travellers, I had found a quiet corner, many rows of free seats around me, and set to work. To my amazement, the mother and son came and not only sat in ‘my’ area, they literally sat ONE seat away from me. I was very annoyed. Surely they could see I was a busy man and that their proximity was an annoying interruption to my day.
Not only did they sit near me but they then began to converse as if their masks were made of solid steel, and the only way to talk was to shout. If I had earmuffs with me I would have put them on. Whilst I would love to claim that I was slow to anger, that would be untrue. I quickly was heading towards getting all ‘huffy and puffy’ and moving away, when their loud conversation stopped me in my tracks and had me in rapt attention and emerging guilt, as I took the time to listen.
They were talking loud because of excitement and fear all bundled together. They wore masks because the boy was unwell. They were travelling to Sydney to spend a week living in a care home attached to a major hospital in preparation for a life changing surgery that the boy was undertaking. They rarely flew and as a result turned to ask me some questions on what to expect, where to go when their flight landed and how to find a cab on arrival. I closed my iPad, we chatted, we talked and I was humbled.
Hope had them in a joyous mood.
This experience reminded me of what hope can do. That hope is the fuel that drives our souls. Hope for a better future. Hope for a fresh start. Hope for a new tomorrow. Hope that what is, will not always be.
Want to know something bizarre? I logged onto the Qantas portal Wednesday after I landed in Sydney, for the umpteenth time, just to try once more to get my Qantas Club membership back; it worked.
Maybe I needed to wait for that day, that flight and that experience to be reminded about the importance of hope.
Maybe you do as well?
This word of encouragement for Christian educators was written by Dean Bennetts, and distributed in The Bridge newsletter in 2022. Dean is the CEO of Adventist Education in North New South Wales, Australia.