The meaning of life.

I was headed to an event somewhere in the Midwest.
To give a closing keynote to an audience of around 4,000 people.
I was scheduled to be on stage at 3pm.
So I figured I could leave early that same morning.
The first leg of my flight arrived at 6:30am in Philadelphia.
On-time and with an hour layover.
I grabbed my briefcase and strolled off the plane.
And stood quietly, scanning the flight information display.
I glanced at my ticket.
My departing flight was scheduled to leave around 7:30am.
And would arrive at my final destination mid-morning.
But I couldn’t find my flight.
Was I looking at the right display?
My pulse began to race.
So I looked . . . harder.
What the hell was going on?
I turned and glanced at passers-by.
Hoping that someone would clue me in.
Blank stares.
I began to sweat through my dress shirt and suit jacket.
Panic was setting in.
I turned and hurried to the nearest flight information center.
And stood in a short line that felt like it was miles long.
My tension was growing.
When I finally stepped up to the counter, I encountered a zombie agent.
“I don’t see my flight on the display,” I exclaimed.
She grabbed the ticket out of my hand.
“That’s because it’s been cancelled,” was the deadpan response.
“Okay,” I calmly replied. “So when is the next flight?”
“That’s it for today. There are no more flights to that destination.”
I felt time stop.
Blood pulsed through the arteries in my neck.
I leaned over the counter and towards the startled agent.
“What the hell do you mean, ‘That’s it for . . .'”
All of a sudden, I felt a gentle hand on my left shoulder.
I turned and caught the empathetic gaze of an elderly man of the cloth.
“What’s wrong my son?” he asked.
I was completely caught off guard.
“Umm . . . my flight has been cancelled and I have to be somewhere.”
He leaned towards me. “I’m sure everything will be fine.”
“Yeah, I hope so,” I responded, a whiff of sarcasm in my voice.
“So,” he added with a sparkle in his eyes. “Do you know why, when the Messiah returns, he is coming back on a donkey?”
“Huh? No . . . why?”
“Because the airlines are unreliable.”
He looked directly in my eyes and smiled.
I looked at him . . . and started laughing.
His enlightened humor totally knocked me out of my negative frame of mind.
And because of my lightened mood, everything did, in fact, turn out fine.
Because my mind was set free, and my imagination was unleashed.
I coaxed and cajoled and secured a later flight on another airline.
Yes, I would be 30 minutes late to the venue.
But I was swimming in possibility.
So I hired a local comic to warm up the audience.
And they loved it!
And I ended up giving the best speech of my career.
Relaxed, authentic, and spontaneous.
And why?
Because a little old man understood the meaning of life.
And he gifted it to me.
Viktor Frankl said, “The meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour.
What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.”
I learned two important lessons on that fateful day.
First, I should do as Carl Jung advised and be that person who kindles a light in the darkness of mere being.
And, more importantly, I should never connect on a flight through Philly.