It had been a tough week of dealing with doctors and hospitals, facing my parents’ advancing age (in my brain, they are perpetually 48), and asking questions that medical staff couldn’t answer. I got on a plane to fly home, emotionally exhausted. When I arrived at the connecting airport, in Houston, I learned that because of the storms and flooding, the Austin airport was completely shut down. I was stuck.

I turned on my cell phone to find a text from my best friend Katy, who lives in Houston. “I’m waiting outside your terminal,” she said. She had already seen the news. I walked outside and there she was. She tossed my bag in her back seat and asked if I was hungry. She headed to our favorite Mediterranean buffet while I told her about my week. With tears flowing, because I was somewhere safe, with someone who wouldn’t get anxious if I cried.

The church she serves was preparing for a UNICEF carnival, so I hung out there while she guided the church youth in their decorating and setup. Back at her house, her family greeted me warmly and had a bed waiting. Coincidentally, my son, who goes to college in Houston, had already planned on coming to Austin that Saturday. He picked me up in the morning, and we had one of those good 3 hour conversations on the ride back that we usually can’t make time for.

This detour was exactly what I needed. Getting “stuck” gave me time with people I love, and a pause before I jumped back into my normal life. And it gave me the reminder that sometimes “complications” are gifts in disguise.