Let me paint you a picture: school got out on Friday, June 22nd. My flight for Montana (to take my last class and participate in capstone week activities for my master’s thesis) left that night at 8 pm. Lovely. My class over the next week was awesome (Thermal Biology of Yellowstone National Park – so cool!), I successfully presented my master’s thesis (and they told me it was one of the best defenses they’d ever seen! I even got filmed…), and it was finally time to come home.
It wouldn’t have been such a long two weeks except my husband was at home the entire two weeks and partway through the time I was in Bozeman, my sister and brother-in-law moved out this way…which meant all my family was gone. Minus Baby Z…who, of course, was with me. 🙂 But that aside, the point of this whole intro is that I was homesick and wanted to get back to Everett to my husband, dog, cats, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time meeting new people, spending time with Bozeman friends, enjoying the completion of 2-and-a-half years of work, etc but I really wanted to come home. Also, we had a 4 hour, private (in home…so nice) birth class scheduled for July 8th.
My flight home was the morning of July 7th at 7 am. No problem getting home for a birth class the next day, right? WRONG. I happened to be flying standby on my mom’s benefits (she is a flight attendant for Horizon) and our flight had mechanical issues…so we all got off. Then we were told that the plane wouldn’t be flight-ready until at least 3 pm. In case you haven’t flown standby before, you automatically get bumped for all the paying passengers. And since I was flying out of the beautiful Bozeman airport (it really is pretty…) which has 8 gates and two flights to SeaTac each day, I was out of luck. Being 33 weeks pregnant, homesick, tired (I had gotten up at 4:30 am to get to the airport for my original flight), frustrated that I was going to miss our one and only birth class, I totally came unglued. Tears, etc. So embarrassing. To the point that 4 people (count ’em, 4) got out of the line they were standing in to get rescheduled to check on me in the corner (I wasn’t standing in line ‘cuz Horizon didn’t owe me anything since I was standby).
One of the people who checked on me was a mom with a 1 year old girl and 3 year old boy. We had “met” on the plane as they sat in the row in front of me and the little boy kept peeking at me between the seats. After I had gotten myself together (I quickly jumped on Alaska/Horizon’s website and booked a flight out of Bozeman through Portland to SeaTac with our airline miles – praise the Lord I had those!), I checked out the line again…that mom was still at least 15 people back and her little boy was not enjoying the waiting.
So why is this under “Steward?” Not only can you be a good steward of your money but you can also be a good steward of your time. Since I wasn’t flying out until 4 pm, I figured I had some time on my hands and it could be better spent on someone else who was in more a jam than me. She had offered me a ride to Helena if that’s where I ended up getting a flight out of so I didn’t feel awkward walking up to her and asking if I could help with her kids. I introduced myself and asked the little boy (named Gideon) if he would like to make paper airplanes with me. He looked up at his mom, who nodded that it was fine, and he brought is backpack over with him.
Thankfully one of the door prizes during capstone week (yes, they had door prizes) was a notepad with Montana State University letterhead. Just the right size for making paper airplanes. I just so happened to have stashed it in my purse so it was easily accessible.
Long story short, we made the Delta Fighter, the Nighthawk, the Bellybutton (dumbest name for a paper airplane EVER), and the Fighting Falcon. Since we each had one, we had a fleet of 8 planes. It took us probably 45 minutes to make the airplanes (which got us to 8 am) and then we spent the next 2-and-a-half hours flying them around the airport.
I also got to find out what was in Gideon’s backpack…a family of teddy rabbits. I had never seen these before, but apparently they are just teddy bears dressed up as bunny rabbits. So we set them up as our air show audience and took turns flying the planes. It was a blast.
Mama (her name was Sarah) was so grateful she took me “out” for lunch at the restaurant in the airport (which, thankfully, wasn’t half bad). We chatted (obviously…because if you know me AT ALL you know that I can talk to anybody including people I don’t know) and I learned that she is a stay-at-home mom who was in Montana helping her parents move. She had to go all the way back to Fairbanks, Alaska…and with the rescheduled tickets, they wouldn’t get home until at least midnight. Yuck.
After lunch, I bid her a good afternoon (though it was barely 11:30 am) as she went down to her gate (#7…so far down the concourse 😉 ) and I went back to mine (original gate, #1). I took a quick nap and chatted with a master’s degree friend who had just arrived for her flight when Sarah, Gideon, and Joy showed back up at my gate. They definitely should have left by now (they were rescheduled on United Airlines through Denver then Portland then Seattle and THEN on an Alaska Airlines flight to Fairbanks) so I was a bit puzzled. Ends up that their rebooked tickets never made it into United’s computers. So they were stuck. Again.
Let’s just say that Gideon and I set up another airshow and played for another 3ish hours until my flight.
So back to stewarding time. We can be selfish with our time or we can allot it as God would want us too. I totally could have frittered away the day on Facebook, Pinterest, or with a variety of other internet distractions. I also could have just let Sarah deal with her 1 and 3 year olds by herself. But instead, God prompted me to look outside of myself and see if I could use my time how He saw fit. We ended up having a great day (minus the sleep deprivation headache that settled in once I got to Portland) and I know I helped Sarah have a great day too. I am so grateful I listened to His leading and spent multiple hours making and flying paper airplanes.
What have you done/what can you do to be a better steward of your time? How do you hear God’s promptings to get things done in a timely fashion so he can use you in the margins of your day?