Photo credit: Shewanda Riley

By Shewanda Riley

The last couple of weeks have been full of news stories discussing the pleasures and perils of holiday travel. For those who chose to travel by airplane, issues like flight cancellations, lost baggage, and weather delays made things especially frustrating. As someone who travels by car during Thanksgiving and Christmas, I felt so much compassion for those who had to deal with so much when all they wanted to do was spend time with their family members, loved ones and friends. For some, traveling by airplane was the only option.   And because of the circumstances beyond their control, some spent more time in the airport than they did with their families, friends and loved ones.  

Watching those stories also made me realize one important thing.  No matter how much you plan for something, there is no way to plan for the unexpected.  Most importantly, the best thing you can do when unexpected and unpleasant things happen is to be flexible. Those passengers who yelled at the airline employees while they were waiting did not get on planes quicker than those who were calmer and pivoted to their plan “B.” Those who insisted on getting on a flight when there were none available only added stress to their travel situation. 

I thought more about past issues I’ve had with travel (which is why I prefer to travel to car) when a friend sent me an anonymous poem about Flight 2023.  “Oh no!   Another bad air travel story!” was my first thought.  But after reading the poem, I realized that it was actually an important reminder on how to prepare for the shift to the new year.      Proverbs 16:9 shows us that our plans are no match for the purposes of God when it says, “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”   This poem also reminds us that it’s how you make the journey and not necessarily where you are going that is most important:

Good morning and welcome to Flight 2023.

We are prepared to take off into the New Year. 

Please make sure that your positive attitude and gratitude 

are secured and locked in the upright position. 

All self-destruct devices such as pity, anger, selfishness, pride, and resentment 

should be turned off at this time. 

All negativity, hurt and discouragement should be put away. 

Should you lose your Positive Attitude under pressure during this flight, 

look up, reach up and pull down a prayer. 

Prayers will automatically be activated by faith. 

Once your faith is activated, you can assist other passengers who are of little faith. 

There will be NO BAGGAGE allowed on this flight. 

God, our captain, has cleared us for takeoff. 

Our destination – Greatness. 

Wishing you a New Year filled with New Hope, New Joy, and New Beginnings. 

Stay blessed! And Welcome to 2023!

Have a happy and blessed 2023!!!

Shewanda Riley (Aunt Wanda), PhD, is a Fort Worth-based author of “Love Hangover: Moving from Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.”   Email her at or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.   You can also listen to her podcast at