I was supposed to fly to Mississippi today for the dedication service for the dormitory addition at the Heritage UMC in D'Iberville, MS, that we United Methodists in Indiana have built to house work teams to help with the on-going response to Hurricane Katrina. It would have been a good day to celebrate our partnership with the Mississippi Conference, and I was looking forward to seeing the finished results of our generosity.
But when I arrived at the airport early this morning to fly down there, I was informed by a very courteous airline agent that all flights to Houston were cancelled due to bad weather and that there was no other way to route my trip to Mississippi to arrive in time for the dedication service. The airline agent was remarkably calm, especially since several people in line in front of me were incredibly rude to her. One person in the line kept shouting, "This is unacceptable!" Clearly his travel plans were being delayed (the airline agent got him on a later flight), but his reaction and his temper were rude.
When I approached the agent and she politely explained the situation to me, I said something like, "This makes for a tough day for you." She shrugged her shoulders and said, "The weather is beyond our control, so we just have to adapt."
I share this story because I have encountered several people lately who have demonstrated a remarkable ability to adapt to situations which are beyond their control. Some have been persons dealing with bad health, others have dealt with the sudden loss of a loved one, still others have adjusted patiently to new job situations. These persons have reminded me -- once again -- that the real measure of our maturity and our faith is how we handle those things in life which are out of control. How do we respond to sudden changes which are beyond our control? Some get upset, look for someone to blame, and react badly. Others adapt, respond with grace, and move forward to find new solutions. The difference? Attitude, maturity, flexibility, and the faith to make the best of tough situations. One of my favorite Bible verses is from Romans 8:28 which is translated in the Contemporary English Version this way: "We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose." It takes faith, maturity, experience, and flexibility to make that affirmation, doesn't it? Even when it seems that life is beyond our control, we can relax, adapt, and trust that God works through all things for good. So I did not make it to Mississippi today, but I was reminded again how to adapt. May God help all of us to deal with those "beyond our control" situations and to adapt.
from Bishop Michael J. Coyner