For the past three years, I have been taking the same airline and same flight between London and Manila. I became too familiar and comfortable with everything, from booking to check-in to landing – that I kind of pride myself as a seasoned traveler. But with my recent trip, I took a different airline – not on purpose but only because that was the most reasonable flight to take, both in terms of price and schedule.
When I confirmed the booking, I knew that it has one stop-over. My flight will be from London-Brunei then Brunei-Manila. I was already at the airport, I looked at the departure board and I saw my flight number and it says Brunei via Dubai. Hmmm… did I miss something? Did I book the correct flight? During check-in, I asked the lady if my flight is stopping over in Dubai. She confirmed that it is stopping over for refueling. I wanted more details. I want to know how long is the flight from London to Dubai, I want to know how many meals they will serve, I want to know what happens when we land in Dubai, I want to know more information so I can plan when to sleep, when to watch in-flight entertainment, when to go for a wee, I wanted to be in control of things that will happen. But, I know that the lady had to deal with more passengers than to deal with my petty concerns. I wasn’t too happy about the idea of having a Dubai stopover just for refueling. I had to refresh my geography and trace the route from London to Dubai to Brunei to Manila. I wanted to know and justify the need for stopovers.
During these two stopovers (Dubai and Brunei), while filling the void of solitude and silence, there was an internal stirring that took place within me. I remember a conversation I had with a friend just few days before my flight. She reminded me that life will sometimes bring us to unexpected stopovers. These stopovers are there not for us to panic about uncertainties nor to lose our ground because of unfamiliarity. These stopovers are invitations for us to renew our hope and trust. A ‘refueling’ – now that I understand better.
Sabi pa ng kaibigan ko, “kung ano man ang nangyayari ngayon, dadaanan mo lang yan, hindi ka mananatili diyan, may magandang mangyayari” – do not drown yourself with too much worry and anxiety. It is during life’s stopovers that we need to hope and trust more – after all, that is what faith is all about. It is when things are beyond our control and only when we truly accept it that we can truly say that we know how to truly hope and truly trust.