Travel has long been one of my favorite things to do, ever since I was a child. And for me, part of the fun of traveling includes the planning, and the thrill of doing it on a budget, especially for leisure travel. For example, several years ago I remember getting a kick out of flying standby round-trip from Dallas to St Louis to my nieces wedding with only a few dollars in my pocket. She picked me up from the airport and I stayed at her house for the weekend. I enjoyed the wedding and visiting with family, no rental car needed, and it cost me zero in travel expenses. I came home with the same few dollars in my pocket!
There’re countless times and places I’ve traveled over the years very inexpensively on leisure trips, thanks to my airline employee/retiree benefits which include free air travel, discounts on hotels, car rentals, and cruises, and all of which I’m very thankful for.
My last leisure trip was to/from Indianapolis this month for my 50th high school reunion. I bought a confirmed ticket there because I wanted to make sure I’d get there the day I planned, but decided to travel standby on the return because I wasn’t sure if I’d be going to Dallas or Tampa, plus getting back on a certain day wasn’t as important as getting there, so standby was a good option for my return. I also booked my hotel using reward points and reserved a rental car with a discount rate. Everything was set. At least I’d thought it was…..
I made a little mistake on my hotel. 😬
Well actually, kind of a big mistake.
So like I said, I get a kick out of traveling as inexpensively as I can. I booked the hotel several months out using my husbands Wyndham Rewards points as I was initially hoping I could convince him to go with me. I put IND in the hotel search bar as I prefer to stay close to the airport, which is this case is on the south (southwest) side of town. The search returned with their south location. I booked it. So far so good.
As I got closer to my travel date, and long after my husband decided he was not going with me, (he didn’t even go to his 50th reunion), I pulled up the address of my high school on my iPhone and noticed that the hotel was actually in Southport. I thought “Great! That’s close to my high school. That’s even better!”
Same hotel name. Wrong hotel.
So on Thursday morning I flew nonstop from DAL Dallas Love Field to IND on WN Southwest Airlines. Got my rental car. Drove to Frankfort to have lunch with my cousin, Jeri. I had a nice visit and then went by my grandparents old house and also their graveyard. Then on to Lebanon where I met my 2nd cousin, Chrissy, for dinner. After a nice visit I put in the address for my hotel on my CarPlay Maps and headed back toward Indianapolis. It was dark, around 10 p.m. when I exited I-465 on to US 31 South and I was shocked when my CarPlay Maps told me to take an immediate right. I thought, “Oh no! Not THAT hotel.”
I remembered THAT hotel from over 50 years ago. It was a very old hotel. It was late. I was tired. I thought maybe, just maybe, they’d updated it and that it would be ok.
As I walked to my room I saw some attempts to update the hotel here and there, but it was still a very old hotel. As I opened the door I saw the carpet was ragged. As I closed the door I saw the hotel policy on the inside door was dirty and halfway peeled off, and the top door lock wasn’t fitted right (it was bent and loose). That made me a little nervous. I went to the bathroom and when I flushed the toilet it didn’t have enough water in the bowl to flush properly. The toilet paper holder was rusted, and underneath the sink area was filthy.
I sat down on the bed and thought about how exhausted I was. Did I mention I’d been up since 3:30 a.m? I closed my eyes and asked the Lord, “What should I do?” 🙏🏻
I called my husband and told him I made a BIG mistake. While on the phone I heard people out in the hall which made me feel even more nervous; unsafe actually. My husband proceeded to tell me that he remembered THAT hotel too and told me a few of the bad things that he remembered about it…😳
I decided then that I’d just look for another hotel online and then in the morning ask my cousin Connie, who I was planning to visit the next day, if I could come stay with her for the two following nights. A couple of months earlier she’d offered for me to come stay with her but I’d already made the hotel reservations and I thought I wouldn’t be a very good guest since I was planning to go to so many places on this trip.
So while I’m on the phone talking with my husband I get a text from Connie! She asked me if I was at my hotel and if everything was ok.
Answered prayer ⬆️ ❤️
I was embarrassed to tell her that I’d made a mistake on the hotel. I didn’t want to come to her house so late and asked if I could come the next day but she insisted she was still up. So at 11:00 p.m. I got to her house and stayed three nights. I was so thankful 🙌🏻 and had such a nice time visiting her.
The rest of my trip went great; visiting my brother Ron, my parents and brother Eldon’s grave, going to three reunion events reminiscing with friends, and a Sunday visit with my brother and sister-in-law, Dennis and Pam, at their new house in Westfield. We went to church, had brunch, a nice 3 mile walk on the Monon Trail, and a yummy 😋 dinner at home. The next morning I returned my rental car and flew standby on Delta IND x/ATL TPA. It was fun to travel standby on Delta again. It’d been over a little over four years since I last used my travel benefits on Delta.
So my inspiration for naming this blog post came from a Christian financial radio program I used to listen to years ago featuring Larry Burkett. He used to say, “Do your givin’ while your livin’, then you’re knowin’ where it’s goin’.” Good advice with a catchy country twang!
So the point I’d like to make is this. ⬇️
While “knowin’ where I’m goin’,” is good practical advice concerning hotel reservations, it’s of utmost importance concerning our eternal destiny.
While it’s OK to make a mistake with a hotel reservation, it’s not OK to make a mistake with your eternal destination:
⁃ Don’t assume where you’re going.
⁃ Be diligent; verify the location of your reservation.
⁃ Reconfirm your reservation.
I’m not assuming I’m going to heaven because I’m a “good person” or because I joined the church around the age of 12, because I was baptized, “good works” or because I go to church.
I’ve been “knowin’ where I’m goin’” ever since one night in my mid-twenties when I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about all the sin in my life. (I’d heard a clear and biblical gospel presentation a few nights earlier on a Billy Graham TV program.) I cried out to God asking for His forgiveness. I realized that I was a sinner in need of a Savior. Now up until that time I considered myself a Christian but it was not until that night that I turned away from sin and turned toward Christ that my life actually changed. I’ve come to know Him more through the years though His word, talking with Him in prayer, and have “reconfirmed my reservation” with Him many times over since that night my life changed.
And to be clear, it was the Holy Spirit that stirred and convicted me of my sin. It was God’s will and timing, not mine. Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them” (John 6:44) It is God who draws us to Himself.
Jesus not only paid the price for my sins, He paid my sin debt in full. I received Him by faith through His marvelous grace. Salvation is a gift from God, but a gift is of no use unless you receive it.
Ephesians 2:8 underscores this truth: “By grace are you saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God.”
As the hymn writer, C.L. Bancroft (1863) reminds us, we’re not saved by anything we’ve done, we’re saved by a work done for us:
Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free,
For God the just is satisfied,
To look on Him and pardon me.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13