No one wants to get sick, especially while traveling far from home. Recently I was traveling for work and came down with a cold at the start of the journey. The next morning not only did I have a cold, I had done something which caused severe pain in my lower back. Sitting, standing, sleeping, all had punishing consequences and I still had a job to do.
Two days later at the airport the journey home began with continued effects of a cold and back pain. During the security check, the officer informed me my carry-on toiletries would not fit into the required plastic bag for liquids. She then took the liberty of tossing my hair product into the trash. Very few times in my life have I ever felt “someone has it in for me”, but this was one of those times. She was mean-spirited, seemingly taking pleasure in giving people a hard time.
With a deep breath, I calmly explained that it was for me to decide which item should be thrown out, and kindly (in my best effort) asked for her to please remove the product from the trash and allow me to try to fit the items into the bag. She hesitated but then realized it was the right thing to do.
Moments later all of my stuff (barely) fit into the bag and I was on my way with shoes and belt off, passing through the scanner. Freedom, the other side!
Then an announcement: “Mr. Jon Harris please report to the security desk… Mr. Jon Harris please report to the security desk…”
Security then informed me that I left my credit card on the other side of the security control, and if I wanted the card I needed to go back with all of my belongings, retrieve the card and then go back through security again. Embarrassed with my mistake, and a little frustrated they couldn’t just pass the card through, I made my way back to the outside world.
This particular airport has a vending machine where all passengers pay a fee of 10 GBP (about $14) to use the airport. I left my card in this machine and unfortunately three other people used the machine after me and received “free” passes at my expense.
With card and luggage in hand, still embarrassed, it was time to go back through security. This time fortunately it was much easier and I was glad to give everyone a laugh at my expense.
In-flight due to my cold my ears had extreme pressure which caused pain as well as an inability to hear from one ear that evening. Upon arrival, a border patrol representative asked me a question and I had no idea what he was saying, partly because I couldn’t hear and partly because he was speaking Italian and wouldn’t speak English. After some back and forth, I realized he was asking my profession and I said “information systems” (in Italian) and he said, “ok go”, and that was it.
All of these stories are true and as I look back, I find it humorous and great to reflect on. First, the truth from Jesus:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
And the experiences of that trip brought some insights:
- I probably don’t need to travel with two bottles of cologne, and I probably care too much about my hair product.
- I make mistakes, daily.
- My body is prone to failure and as we age it seems to get worse.
- Mean behavior is hurtful and senseless. And I’m not any better than the mean security officer because in my heart, I had anger, judgement, and mean thoughts against her.
Mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I am not awesome, BUT GOD IS!
““Who is like you among the gods, O Lord — glorious in holiness, awesome in splendor, performing great wonders?” (Exodus 15:11 NLT)
“Then I said, “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands,” (Nehemiah 1:5 NLT)
“I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands.” (Daniel 9:4 NLT)
Today and every day let us be grateful for our awesome God and his son Jesus. In our failures and non-awesomeness, our sins are forgiven and we are cleansed when we repent in the name of Jesus Christ.