Friday, August 07, 2009

travel agent

This morning I booked hotel rooms for our trip to London, England in 2 weeks. If you have ever checked it out, you will know that London is an expensive place to visit, especially when you are used to Canadian prices. I just don't think that breakfast at a hotel is worth 25 pounds, or 45 Canadian dollars, do you? They obviously think that I can eat 45 dollars worth of food, so perhaps I should give the Brits credit for their extreme optimism.

Anyway, after weeks of research and asking around, during which time I found a lot of overpriced hotels, a few reasonably priced rooms accompanied by horrible reviews, and one or two deals that disappeared while I thought about them, everything fell into place last night. It's funny how waiting can bring clarity. The foggy impossibility of the task, given the myriad of locations to research and the limited budget we were working with, vanished as the right choices became clear, like someone was highlighting them. It was all so obvious last night that I wondered why I couldn't have seen it before.

There is something creative about the element of time. It makes a way for patience to grow. It involves waiting - an opportunity to ponder things we don't make time for otherwise. It brings information and learning and knowledge our way that informs our choices. It leaves room for interactions to happen that point us in a better direction. And it builds trust if we let it.

Near the beginning of this process, I had impatiently asked God why I was having such trouble finding the right flights and hotel rooms. In my opinion, the perfect flight dates had already been lost because we were too busy to get back to the booking immediately after I came upon it, and that put me in a bit of a panic. Available dates and deals were disappearing, didn't he know that? What was I supposed to do? Spend even more time researching every available avenue to dig up the meagrest of savings? Compromise on dates and location and safety and cleanliness and budget and common sense? Why didn't he do something? And his answer was straightforward and calm. "Can you wait?" It was something one would say to a child begging for ice cream just before dinner. Yes, of course, I could wait.

I let those words change the panic that nothing would come of my efforts to trust that he could provide. The responsibility to make everything happen was no longer mine. I left the search alone for 5 days while we went away on a leadership retreat, and then leisurely started to look at it again when we returned. Last weekend, some visiting friends gave me some good advice from their visit to London a few years ago, and I incorporated their suggestions into narrowing down my search criteria. Ten days after I laid down the panic and 13 days before we leave, all has been arranged.
We have flights, me arriving a day before Dean and checking into the hotel with a friend. The flights were $100 more than I had wanted, but the hotel cost is $100 less. This was due to hitting upon the idea to split our stay between two locations: one near the airport and the wedding we are attending, and the other closer to downtown for a day of sightseeing. In this way, I was able to get the best prices and accommodate everyone involved. As an added bonus, both hotels I booked have over 80% positive feedback. I am sure not everything will be perfect on our trip, but the important things are covered and for that I am very grateful.

I came across this quote from Oswald Chambers today on a friend's facebook status: If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and the leisureliness which ought to characterize the children of God.

Let the simplicity and leisureliness in my life that comes from trusting my Father continue to grow.

These are flowers by the side of the road near Digdeguash, New Brunswick. They do not toil nor worry about what to wear.

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