Sunday, March 25, 2007

I'm Home Again, but "Jesus [Almost] Took the Wheel"

Well, I'm back from Oneighty's ELEVATE 2007 Conference sponsored by Pastor Willie George's Church on the Move. Yeah, that's his real name and the real name of the mega-church. You might remember Pastor Willie George as "Gospel Bill," a character he played on his evangelistic children's TV show a few years back. Anyway, a good time was had by all.

Uh, well, once we got there, that is. And before we tried to come home. But in between those times, everything was just peachy.

So you were praying for me, huh? :)

Our first flight from Indy to Chicago was delayed a couple of hours, so the five of us: a high school junior who heads our Operations department, my 27-year-old boss, our Volunteer Director ("Faith," who is 32), and our college senior who heads up Campus Connections, plus me, the 44 year-old D.O.P. (designated old person), missed our connecting flight to Tulsa due to a delay in Indy. There was only one flight left, and if we missed it, we might as well have scrapped the whole conference because by the time we got there, it would have been 3/4 over.

We landed in Chicago with TWO WHOLE MINUTES to spare before our only flight left. We ran through Chicago like we were being chased by lions. I had to take off my shoes and run in my socks from concourse G to H, which is about, ohhhh, 87 miles.

My staff was Rambo-ing through elderly couples, ("God bless you, Ma'am! Sorry, Sir!") and jumping over the elastic leashes that linked stray toddlers to their parents. It was quite an athletic feat, especially for me, because I had taken four anti-nausea pills that day, which made me feel like I was running at strobe-light speed. (Side note: anti-nausea pills did not work. Man has not made an antiemitic that can withstand my kind of motion sickness. I get motion sick sitting at a train if I let myself watch it pass by.)

When we got to the gate, the smiling, effervescent, employee said, "Hey! Here you are! We were just about to give away your seats!"

We boarded and walked the aisle with menacing stares piercing us. "Why are those Goobers late?" is what every single person was thinking, even the babies.

In our seats, we were all panting and hacking like octogenarians. I had use to my inhaler, and my 27 year old boss had a wheezing fit, too. What a youthful, vigorous youth ministry staff we are! Then we started laughing at ourselves and got into a coughing-wheezing loop that brought Faith to tears of laughter.

On our way home, we were on our connecting flight from Memphis to Indy, when the pilot announced we needed to de-board due to a fluid leak in the hydraulic system. So they kept us posted about how much longer would be, etc. When we finally were set to go on a new plane borrowed from another airline, the pilot said, "Thanks fer yer payshunts durin' the delay. Folks, we had us a maintenance problem that was 'drecktly kinnected to the controwl flaght panull, so takin' 'at 'un wood notta been a good ideuh." Let me tranlate Memphonian dialect for you: "Folks, if we had stayed on the first flight, we would have been singing, 'Jesus, Take the Wheel.'"

You'd probably guess that once we got to hallowed Hoosier ground all went smoothly, and it did, except for fog so thick that cars were inching down the interstate. So the ride home was a looooong one.

But I'm home, and I am back to my sweet bed and ornery kids and timid, perpetually disressed dog. Best of all, my body has released me from that terrible traveling blight of "incommodius bowels," if you know what I mean. Ahh. It's good to be home.

After I catch up on laundry and sleep, I'll be back to further analyze Sanjaya's eerie hold on the country and playing blog tag and all sorts of other things. Because--I missed you!


Susanne said...

Well glad to see you didn't leave your sense of humor back at where the conference was! Reading about your run through the airport all I could think it's a good thing Linda can go five miles on the eliptical 'cause if it was me I would have been dying. This is the stuff that's holding me back from applying for the Amazing Race or to be involved with youth ministry. :v)

But I'm really glad you did make it safe and sound in spite of the moments of craziness, my DOP friend. :v)

amanda said...

Sounds like an adventure! I'm jealous you were in Tulsa at COTM. Oh, I miss them!

Roxanne said...

We are glad you're back too. . .I kept on clicking over here out of habit, and the crickets chirping were my reminder that you were out of town. . .and ain't home grand? It's my favorite place EVER. :)

Tammy said...

Oh, so glad you're back safe and sound! :)
That story reminded me of our family trip to Hawaii this past fall...although that whole thing was a series of mishaps (making it a 3 part post). But we did miss our flight back to the mainland, and had to fly back to a whole different city and...OK, that's my post, not yours!
Anyway, glad your actual conference was good...yet, I bet if felt so nice to walk into your own house with your feet firmly planted on your the floor! :)

samurai said...

What travel is exzciting without one of these kinds of stories! :)

I am glad you are safe and sound. I hope you get your legs back under you soon. :)

Deena said...

LOL!! Welcome home! Get some rest, sweetie...

Edith said...

I'm rolling on the floor laughing - you tell a story very well!

We very much enjoyed COTM when we attended there - go cool that you got to go to the conference - and thankful you made it on time.


Clemntine said...

Man! I need a nap after that!

As I am fluent in Memphonian, I completely understood your pilot, and it would've instilled goo-gaws of confidence in me.

Glad you're back!