Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pride goes before...a forgotten bag

When it comes to traveling, I don’t just like EVERYTHING to be just “so,” I WANT everything to be just “so”!

Oh, I do my research & hostels, plane makes and models, airport wi-fi free or paid, how to avoid jet lag and diarrhea, as well as how to find exit row and power plug seats, etc., etc., cause I know what I WANT. I have a plan!

I pride myself on knowing what I WANT...I will even tell travel agents, flight attendants, gate attendants, airport guides, hotel desk staff, trip planners, etc., what I WANT and when I WANT it. I tell myself, it’s a good thing to know what you WANT. However, if you’ve ever encountered anyone like me, someone who knows what they want and is even a bit smug in conveying that they know what they want, THEREFORE you should want it for me too.

My kind of “wanting” can come across as...finicky or fussy, picky, persnickety or particular, difficult or demanding, basically...Jerk with a capital “J”.

How do I know? Cause no matter the city, country or language, I see it written on their faces and their bodies when they interact with me.

Why am I telling you this, cause for whatever reason, God allowed me to see the ugliness of ME and the graciousness of others, just in the first 24 hours of this trip to Africa!

I’ll try to make it quick, basically our first plane out of LAX had problems so it couldn’t fly. I knew it would mean re-booking all the flights to Africa. Cause I checked on my phone’s internet connection, so I had a first in line, don’t go to the customer service center like everyone else, just stay at the gate...the plan worked.

We got our new flights, we even got our bags off of that initial flight, I got the seat “I” wanted (I was nice & I made sure J. Michael got one, too) and we were out of there “before” everyone else. I was feeling good (smug).

However, pride goes before the...well, you know...the fall.

We get to London Heathrow, great flight, great seats, great power port...disembark, get on the bus to the next terminal, through security, and then (I hate, “and then’s”), we realized the gate agent in LA didn’t provide the proper ticketing. I was a bit miffed at the new airline agent, “just get it done here,” I don’t want to go back on the bus, through security, to another gate agent, but to no avail...

So back to the previous terminal, get the right papers AND then, again, back on the bus through security to where we were told our tickets were no good, meanwhile, 1 1/2 hours has gone by. I gave the same woman the new papers and as I did, I asked if I could have this certain seat, etc., etc.,

She said in a terse voice (I know she was feeling the affects of my attitude previously), “Sir, we’ll take care of that later, now your bag check tickets, please.” I said back with planned pride, “I didn’t check any baggage, I’m carrying it on...” (Cause, remember, I know what I want and don’t want some dummie to mishandle my luggage and not have it show up in Africa).

And as soon as I said, “I’m carrying it on...” I realized with ABSOLUTE horror, that I left MY rolling bag on the flippin plane ( the plane and that was 1 1/2 hours ago). So I sheepishly said in a controlled creaking voice, “Ma’am, I believe I left my bag on the plane...what do I do now?”

I fully expected her to say, “You, Mr. Perfect. Mr. Planner. Mr. you know what you want man, YOUUUU want to know what to do now? Well, your bag can rot in...” But she didn’t, she was so gracious. She immediately picked up the phone, called the other airlines.

Sure it meant another trip on the bus to the other terminal AND it meant coming back her way (3rd time) with my bag HUMBLY in tow! But as I passed by her desk, her smile and greeting said it all, “Sir, did you get your bag?” I responded, “Yes, Ma’am.” To which she said, “I’m so glad. I hope the rest of your trip is splendid.” (She really meant it, I could tell)

Soooo, all in roughly 24 hours God allowed me to see the ugly parts of me and the graciousness in others!

I know there was not much Fruit of the Spirit, “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control” on display. But, thanks be to our Lord, I can humbly say a lesson was experienced.

So prayerfully, during the rest of the trip, it’ll be less of me and what I want and more about others.

Hey, thanks for reading. Thanks for praying!

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing