I was coming home from an all expense paid trip to San Diego, and while I was riding up an escalator after checking my bags, I had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude rise up within me. Silently, I thanked God for the getaway that was completely covered including our every meal, our accommodations and our flights. I felt like a princess who had been given the royal treatment for three days. I was not begrudgingly going home, but I had a strong desire to travel again soon, and if the next trip was free…all the better! I asked mentally for a way to be made for another excursion in the next year.
As we walked to our gate, I paused along the way at various gift shops and vendors not only to search for souvenirs but to leave behind notes with dollar bills rolled up inside. It sounds like an odd practice, but I had read a book called Happy Money by Laina Buenostar while enjoying my vacation. She suggested that in order to have freedom with money to give small amounts away to create joyful feelings. The instructions were quite simple, really. Take a dollar bill, or whatever amount doesn’t make you faint, and write a little note such as, God bless you or Don’t worry about money because God loves you and then drop them in places where an unsuspecting passerby will come upon it. According to the author, when she began doing this, she noticed that more money and blessings would float her way from different sources and she was never without. I believe this is much like the verse that says, “Give and it shall be given to you..”
So, I happily placed my notes around the building. I put dollar bills in bathrooms, magazines, books that were financially motivating, and I finally dropped the last one in a mug that would sure to be grabbed by a tourist as they raced to his or her gate. I did this discreetly because it wasn’t supposed to draw attention to me, and I was not to hang around to see who got the note.
About thirty minutes before boarding, an announcement was made that our flight was overbooked. An airline employee asked for volunteers to step down and get on the next flight. My travel companion put our names on the list. When he sat down next to me I said,
“What happens if we don’t get on our flight?”
“If they put us on another flight it will only be about an hour behind this one. And, they will give us each a $400 flight voucher to be used within the next year to go wherever we want for free.” I nearly fell out of my chair. My prayer on the escalator was coming to pass!
The two of us waited while the rest of the passengers boarded. As the crowd thinned, and we were the only passengers left, the lady behind the desk motioned for us to go ahead and board.
“We don’t need you to stay behind after all. Your seats are available. ”
With a heavy heart, I walked onto the plane with a despondent attitude dragging my carry on behind me like a dead weight. After getting buckled in I began to text my daughter that went something like this:
“We are on the plane! We didn’t get our free tickets. I am coming home now. I knew this stuff didn’t work!” My disappointment stemmed from the fact that I had been reading such marvelous stories about people who prayed for miracles and got what they had asked for.
I started thinking, I guess I am not good enough for a miracle.
Out of no where a flight attendant ran up the aisle toward the two of us yelling,
“Get off the plane! Get off the plane! Get off the plane!”
The shocked faces around us were too many to count, and we didn’t wait around to explain. We frantically unbuckled, grabbed our belongings and scrambled for the door. To those not knowing what was happening, we looked rather criminal. Within moments a young dad was sprinting to our empty seats with two small children.
We were given two $400 flight vouchers to be used anywhere in the United States within the year and an allowance to enjoy free meals while we waited to catch the next flight. We had secured our free flights, but now we needed to make the decision about where to go.
In April of the following year, we had not gone on our trip and both of us seemed rather undecided about what to do. We had been told by the airline staff that we could not give the vouchers away. We had to use them and no one else. Only three months remained until the tickets would expire and it seemed like it wasn’t going to happen. Tired of trying to decide, I put my hand on both vouchers and asked for my request to be completed.
“I need somewhere to stay,” I said out loud. I kept this to myself to see how it would work itself out. By the end of the week, I received a text from a family member with an offer to give us some of her timeshare days for free. When she called to check on availability, she was told that nothing was open during the time we preferred. Minutes later, the same person said,
“Oh, wait. We just had something put back into the system. We now have an opening for what you need.” She went on to book a large condo that slept six with an ocean view, a full kitchen and two full bathrooms.
When we arrived to check-in we were early, but I decided to take my chances anyway. Usually, check-in isn’t until four, and we had shown up at noon. The representative behind the desk clicked away on her keyboard to locate our accommodations. I was fully prepared to go back to the rental car and drive around for hours while waiting.
“It looks like your room is ready. Yours is the only one in the whole complex. Lucky you.” I knew it wasn’t luck.
As I stood there in awe, my mind flashed back to the airport where I had placed my notes and bills so that others could have a brief moment of happiness. In return, I was understanding something. Giving had opened up a pathway for the divine to work on my behalf. Giving cheerfully had brought back a reward to me that I would never have imagined. For the first time, I felt and understood the connection.
(The Gulf of Mexico..our view from our trip)