This is an entry written on 2/11/16 during my flight to Haiti.
Today I had a long conversation with a flight attendant. It was a struggle getting to the flight (as usual…woke up late), but thanks to the ticketing desk I got emergency-row seating (#thankful). Anyone at my height knows this is always a plus: no sore knees on the plane. So – I get comfortable, shoes off, I’m about to dive into a good book and enjoy the semi-first-class setting, and then I see the flight attendant come up to me. She says hello, and smiles – but she’s a nervous wreck. I asked her, “What’s up?” I quickly learned it’s her second week on the job. First time on this type of plane. A note to all flight attendants – don’t tell passengers it’s your first time.
“Hi I’m your doctor – this’ll be the first time I ever do this procedure on anyone.”
Can you imagine?
She’s supposed to be the person we look to when terrified. I was quite uneasy.
When doing the safety presentation (first time I ever pay attention), the life vest was all tangled. She couldn’t fit the oxygen mask over her head – I wasn’t looking forward to this experience.
You see – given the role she’s playing, I assumed she’s ready to handle anything, I should trust her. Trust is a decision we decide on very early in human encounter
Cab driver? Doctor? Priest? Politician? Flight attendant? I am so quick to judge. In 10 seconds I’ve already decided how I feel about you.
But, she was honest. This was weird to me.
When she sat down (in her Dallas, Texas accent) she verbalized to me how nervous she was today. Boss is examining her and he showed up randomly on the flight.
She’s new to the job and took it because she needed the money to make ends meet.
I didn’t ask why. I was done asking questions.
But she continued. She said she’s a single mom. Daughter in high school, she needed the income and the insurance coverage.
What a change of scene. My judgment was so harsh. At first sight I was convinced this lady was irresponsible, and I was angry. I thought I needed a plan to save lives in case of emergency…because she wasn’t gonna help.
But her honesty, made me melt. I was embarrassed for how I felt. If anything, I was proud of her. I wanted her to succeed. See the contrast?
That morning, I had missed our group shuttle because I woke up late. I was irresponsible. I almost ran out of gas on the way to the airport. I did not plan ahead. I was supposed to be going on this trip to ‘help’ people…but from the start, I was busy hurting those around me, even if it was inaudible.
FYI – she was a great flight attendant. We got there safely, and I got extra peanuts. #Success.
As we start the Great Lent – I want to share this small experience with you all for our growth and edification. We need to trust MORE, be MORE honest in our conversations.
Check these quotes from Chrysostom on fasting. The first is to teach us (because I love his comparison to medicine). The second is what I’m guilty of too often…and if you’re in it with me, lets pray for healing.
Fasting is a medicine. But medicine, as beneficial as it is, becomes useless because of the inexperience of the user. He has to know the appropriate time that the medicine should be taken and the right amount of medicine and the condition of the body which is to take it… If any of these things are overlooked, the medicine will do more harm than good. So, if one who is going to heal the body needs so much accuracy, when we care for the soul and are concerned about healing it from bad thoughts, it is necessary to examine and observe everything with every possible detail.
Let the mouth too fast from disgraceful speeches and railing. For what does it profit if we abstain from birds and fishes; and yet bite and devour our brethren? The evil speaker eats the flesh of his brother, and bites the body of his neighbor.
Because of this Paul utters the fearful saying, “But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!”(Galatians 5:15). You have not fixed your teeth in the flesh, but you have fixed the slander in the soul, and inflicted the wound of evil suspicion; you have harmed, in a thousand ways, yourself and him, and many others, for in slandering a neighbor you hast made him who listens to the slander worse…
So to benefit and grow during this fast, take the (fasting) medicine with wisdom. Take it regularly, with correct intentions. Take it with this message: that #1thingisneeded – trust and honesty. Because if you give them, you receive them. If you want to receive them from those around you, give them without hesitation. And without them, there is no relationship with Christ.
Whoever walks blamelessly will be saved (Proverbs 28:18)