This June, my wife, Janie and I went to Europe for a well-deserved vacation. We had planned the trip for almost a year: booking our airplane flights, booking a group tour with a major tour company and coordinating our activities so we could be joined by our dear friends from New Jersey. Timing was the all-important factor. We knew we were dependent upon God for our weather, but never did we think about how labor organizations could play a role in deterring our desired outcome. Our flights were booked through Air France. Little did we know, there were planned strikes by pilots, and then later by air controllers, that would affect our trip.
We thought we were finally ready for our long-awaited trip – luggage pulled out, clothes selected for packing, toiletries organized – only to be blindsided by an air pilot strike planned for set specific dates designed for maximum impact of message. They would affect air travelers who had made plans to attend soccer games in Europe and summer tourists hoping to enjoy a European vacation.
An individual traveler has no control over last minute flight cancellations and delays, and we found little remorse from those causing the emotional and financial disruption. It’s easy to feel helpless, but I was reminded of something we channel often at Singer Burke, whether it’s working through an inconvenient IRS audit or dealing with the ups and downs of the stock market. What becomes important at these times is keeping control of your emotions and using your energy to make changes to things you can control and not spend your time in trying to change what you cannot control.
Our flight to Europe was cancelled the day before our departure. Total panic took over for a small period of time. Fast work by my wife thankfully got us re-booked on new flights. There was no time to waste feeling frustrated or angry, only time to take control of the situation to see what we could do about it. Goal succeeded; we were still going on our trip.
There was still a hint of disappointment, since the timing caused us to forsake a planned flight with our friends and meant we wouldn’t be able to properly acclimate to the time change before our tours started.
So we got to our destination a little later than planned, but – importantly – still in time to enjoy our vacation. We did not expend energy on what we could not control, but expended our effort on what we could accomplish. A happy ending and a well learned lesson for life in general.