Planes, Strangers and Snowstorms…

IMG_1917-2Since becoming a trainer in Motivational Interviewing I’ve started to have some interesting adventures as Jeffrey refers to them and here’s one worth sharing with all my readers.

A long story but well worth the read….

The University of Arkansas Medical School was having a conference on obesity prevention and I was invited to give both a lecture and workshop in Motivational Interviewing by my fellow MINTie (Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers) Joe Banken.

Going to a state I’ve never been to, seeing the Clinton Library and teaching the language of MI was a win-win…but I had no idea what was in store for me.

Since there is no direct flight from Los Angeles to Little Rock I was to fly through Dallas. I had made a vow to never fly AA 10 years ago when they cancelled my flight on my honeymoon but I had temporary amnesia when booking my flights since the times were better than other airlines.

In Dallas the “friendly skies” kept delaying the 2 pm flight from Dallas to Little Rock by 15-minute increments till they could cancel it at 6:30 pm. This left me no option of getting to AR – no alternative flights, no flights the next day, and basically going back to Los Angeles – and not honoring my commitment to the conference.

I thought of how important the concept of having a “menu of options” is in Motivational Interviewing as it is in life: when making a choice having options gives us control and choice and here an airline was taking away my options giving me no choice but to go home which was more than uncomfortable. I renewed my vow and took the option I had not to fly American Airlines again for any reason.

In the long line of “rebookings” I met 2 new friends: Ursula and Dave. Ursula was from LA and going to an important family reunion and Dave was on his way home from a business trip.

After much discussion and strategizing Dave offered to drive Ursula and I to Little Rock – only 330 miles from Dallas – in the SNOW.

Should I do it or not? Should I go this journey with 2 total strangers and trust it would all work out?

I decided to GO FOR IT!

All we had to do was rent a car and we’d be on our way. After much ado about finding the appropriate vehicle for driving in the snow and ice we were on the road at 8:30 pm with a long drive ahead of us.

Little did I know Dave is an ambassador for Gideon’s International (Bibles in hotel rooms) and Ursula had an amazing history of coming through challenging family times and we all had a divine appointment that night of going on this journey together to get to our destination which seemed a lifetime away. The blistering cold, white exterior, and prayers for safety kept us bonded together during this journey.

Hungry, jet lagged, and without much resiliency in my body I had to trust it would all work out and that I was meant to be in this car…. this was my divine option.

Dave was an amazing safe driver and Ursula was our cheerleader to keep us all awake, happy and alert. We took several breaks along the way and had authentic conversations about our lives.

On this type of trip you realize what is most important in life: your family, values and your final destination.

We arrived safely in Little Rock at 3 am and although I felt like a truck ran over me the next day I made it to the conference that day safe and sound and was able to honor my commitments.

This was my adventure – it required all the patience, trust and hope my body and soul could muster. Although I would never have chosen this alternative route to Little Rock, I would never take back this precious and wonderful memory of divine care, fellow human compassion, generosity of spirit and an adventure, which will stay amongst my favorite memories of all time.