I woke up early Friday morning, excited to fly to New York for a few performances this past Shabbos, but on the way to the airport I saw that my flight had been delayed due to bad weather conditions at LGA, and by the time I checked in, United had pushed the departure back by another hour. I made it through security and just as I got to my gate, it was announced that take off would be delayed by yet another hour and a half! I quickly did the math and realized that if there was one more delay, even just 20 min, it would become to risky to try making it to my destination before sundown, and I would have to cancel the trip!
I asked the gate agent if there was any way I could get on an earlier plane. The only other possibility was Flight 4001, which would be leaving shortly. It was fully booked, but he put me on standby, giving me at least a glimmer of hope, and I lingered near the gate 🙏 praying intently to HaShem, “Please, let me get a spot on this plane!”
The passengers lined up, and began boarding, group by group, disappearing onto the plane, as I watched in envy, yearning to join them! When the crowd of people was gone, it became clear that a single passenger was a no show! My eyes lit up with excitement, and I held my breath🤞as the agent called out a name over the PA several times. To my delight no one came running! With a sigh of relief, I gathered my belongings and made my way towards the desk. Baruch HaShem! This was my ticket to NY 🗽 before Shabbat!
Unfortunately, I was then informed that one other woman was also on standby, and that she had the rightful claim to that coveted seat. I quickly approached her in desperation and pleaded with her, “Excuse me, miss, can I please buy your seat? You can take my spot on the next flight, I just really need to get to NY before sundown!” I was prepared to pay a hefty price💰for that seat! I had three performances on the line, and if I was stuck in Cleveland I wouldn’t get paid for any of them! Sadly 😥 she didn’t even want to hear my offer. She politely, but firmly shut me down, and walked off down the jet bridge. All I could do was watch jealously as the plane took off, leaving me and my troubles behind. 🛫
I was now out of options. Either my original, thrice delayed flight would somehow get me to NY in the nick of time, or I would just have to cancel my performances and spend Shabbos at home. Since, there was nothing else I could do, I just sat down to learn Daf Yomi and some Chumash with Rashi. I would occasionally glance at the screen, each time expecting a trip canceling delay. I didn’t have high hopes, it was an icy day ❄ in Cleveland, and I heard that LGA was backed up because of high winds. In my experience, flights that get repeatedly delayed, for hours at a time, rarely leave when the airline says they will, and often get canceled altogether, but an hour went by, and when boarding time rolled around, they actually started boarding the plane! It looked like I could actually make it to NY for Shabbat!
But as I joined the line waiting to board the aircraft, I saw the gate agents talking to each other excitedly, and from their strained expressions it was obviously more bad news. My heart sank as I made my way towards the desk to ask what was going on. To my surprise, they weren’t discussing my flight at all, rather it was about Flight 4001 ✈ the plane I had been praying to board an hour earlier. They had just been informed that Flight 4001 had some mechanical difficulties in Pennsylvania, and had just turned around, on its way right back to Cleveland!
My mind was blown! I had wanted to be on that plane so badly! I was praying with all my heart that a spot would open up for me, and when one didn’t, I was ready to pay the other woman on standby a lot of money 🤑 for her seat! Imagine if she had accepted my offer! I would have been down hundreds of dollars and still never made it to NY! Who knows, I may have even gotten stuck in the Cleveland Airport for Shabbos!
In the end, after a few more unforeseen delays 😬 I arrived at my destination, pulling up to the house where I was staying at the very end of the 18 minutes, literally 60 seconds⏳before Shabbos! I didn’t have time to shower or even plug in my phone, but I was so grateful that I made it there safely!
After a beautiful Shabbos with Rabbi Dov Oliver and his students from Hillel of Rockland, and an elegant dinner at Be’er Hagolah Institutes/ BHI, I’m still flying high, full of joy and gratitude, realizing how close I was to being stuck in an airport for 25 hours and missing out on an amazing weekend!
This whole experience has really strengthened my Emunah. Everything HaShem does is truly for the best, but because my perception is very limited, this isn’t always clear. Sometimes it takes weeks, months, or even years for the kindness of HaShem to become apparent, but on Friday, I was taught the lesson in a matter of hours! It seemed so obvious to me that getting a seat on Flight 4001 was in my best interest, but as it turned out, I was completely wrong, and the very thing I was praying for would have been a total disaster! I’ve never been so grateful that HaShem didn’t answer my prayers!
So, if things aren’t going exactly the way you want them to, dont lose faith! Remember that you can’t see the whole picture, and just like me, you may be praying for something that is actually not what’s best for you at all! The fact that your prayers have not been answered may very well be HaShem doing you a great kindness!
That being said, since you took the time to read my entire post, and made it all the way to the end, I’m blessing you that your vision 👁 should be clear and you should only experience open and revealed blessings 🤲 throughout your life!
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