Friday, December 11, 2009

The End of the Gold

I'm losing my Gold status with American Airlines at the end of this month.

The end of an era...for now, at least.

I use to travel a minimum of 1 week a month. I went to Cincinnati every month. Speckled with 2 trips to Atlanta, two or three to Washington DC/Virginia Beach. Houston, San Antonio. And some vacation...of course! Enough to keep up Gold status. Not horrible travel, but certainly interesting to juggle with 2 kids and a husband that works 60 - 70 hours a week. Thanks to my sweet, sainted in-laws, we were able to make it work.

Then I was laid off in February of 2008. My company was tanking. The sales team was the first to go. (don't get me started on that logic) In hindsight, it was the best way to go because we did get a little severance. Had we stayed to the end, we would have been lucky to get our last paycheck!

(Sidebar - the president of this company bore a *striking* resemblance to Dr. Doofenshmirtz from Disney Channel's "Phineas and Ferb". Seriously. Just as evil and just as clueless and just as German. hahaha)

Several dozen attempts to gain fruitful employment landed me in the unemployment office with a decent bout of mild depression - which I self medicated with wine and sugar.

In September of 2008 I got a great part time job at a little sales firm 5 miles from my house. It's commission only, which means I make about $.05 an hour, but it's totally flexible and does have potential...if my buyers ever answer their phones...

I continued to look for other jobs, prayed, yelled, bartered with God to please help me get a good job. Please - come on - it's been months. Please?

In the early months of 2009, my sweet father-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Devastating news. And he immediately began a very aggressive chemotherapy treatment program. It's been very hard on the family, as you can imagine.

Then it hit me - duh! God kept me out of the fast lane for a reason! My in-laws can't keep my kids on a weekly basis. She still keeps Bergen twice a week - at her request - to help lift the mood of the house and make them laugh. He's good at that. But we can't lean on them the way we've done in the past.

Oh how blind I can get to God's plan and provision! He's taken care of us all along the way. It may not be huge gestures that the whole world can see, but it's certainly enough to help us survive. And it's through this path that I've learned to trust Him and thank Him for the little things, and to stop waiting for the big things - big job, big raise, etc - before I start my praise.

Back to the Gold status on AA.

In December of 2008, American called my cell phone. Yeah, we're that tight. The sweet customer service rep says "we've noticed you've not been on the DFW/Dayton flight in quite a while - is everything okay?" I responded, "well, I was laid off in February so I really have nowhere to go..." She replied, "I'm so sorry. I know it's hard out there. American Airlines would like to extend your Gold status until the end of 2009."

What? Something nice for ME? I started crying...which probably freaked her out a bit.

"It's been a really crappy year. This is pretty much the nicest thing that's happened to me in a while." Poor lady. She replied, "well we appreciate your loyalty and hope that you choose AA when things start to look up." So for all of 2009...and the two flights I took in 2009...I got to board with the folks in the fast lane, and enjoy my exit row, aisle seat.

To me, losing my status at AA means the following:

- I'm home all the time, and not on a plane away from my kids
- My normal has been adjusted - normal now is being home for my boys after school, and I love it
- Noticing the everyday blessings from God
- Learning to trust God, even when it hurts, and even when it feels like He's not watching

So I'm happy to join the folks at the end of the line to board the plane. It's taught me a lot. Maybe someday I'll get another "fast lane" job. But for now, I'm perfectly thankful.

1 comment:

iCareNOW said...

...chuckled out loud at your "$.05 an hour" comment and also deeply appreciated your faith in GOD through your trying times.

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