What do you do when while you are sitting should-to-shoulder to another passenger on a commercial airline, that person spills their whole cup of soda on themselves and you? I imagine I would roll my eyes a bit while looking the other direction and be thinking how some people should not be allowed to fly. But what if you are the one that spills the soda on yourself and others while flying to Chicago? Yes, I was the one. It frustrated the situation that I was making a quick connection to Indianapolis, landing at 5:30 and would have to preach literally within 15 minutes of getting to the meeting hall.
While my seatmates maintained a solemn quizzical expression, the flight attendant handed me blankets to sit on. The ineluctable thought came to mind – “I am right now the guy that everyone sees as the ‘problem.’”
Now before you carry that thought too far, let me make my point. I, as we all do, realize I am not perfect, but I didn’t consider myself to be someone that others wouldn’t want to sit next to. It is true that in my short life I have noticed many I would not want to sit with on a plane. But at 25,000 feet, on a descent into O’Hare International Airport I was reminded that I am no different than those unwanted seatmates.
If you complain about people being annoying or frustrating, let me remind you, you too are annoying and frustrating. If you grumble about others who are controlling, heads up- you aren’t all that different.
Looking at it through those glasses, I understand why God put us in a community and then reminds us not to let pride convince us that "I" am God's blessing to others. Well, in the end, you are God’s gift to this community, but so is the person you don’t want to sit next to.