A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Dave's Deep Thoughts - A Red-Eye Faith

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.

Words can be transforming,
but how about individual letters?

I was out of town last week
so of course, I came down with a cold.

The day before my return home,
I was feeling quite miserable and took time to rest.
With more time on my hands, I checked out my return flight arrangements.

Flight departing  11:30
Arriving  5:21

Perfect. That would allow me the evening to get unpacked and to settle back in at home.


Flight departing  11:30  PM
Arriving  5:21  AM

If there are three words that are the kiss of death to a traveler, it is:
       red eye flight

If there are seven words that are the kiss of death to a traveler, it is:
       red eye flight while nursing a cold.

How many people could possibly be traveling overnight?
I envisioned finding a row with a couple of empty seats so I could stretch out,
take some nighttime cold medicine to knock myself out.
Wakeup in my home airport after a long  nap.
Maybe it wasn’t going to be that bad after all.

Arrived at Gate 3 to find out………flight was full.
It was going to be that bad.

Seat 21D was thankfully,  an aisle seat.
But passenger in 21E was a talker. 
Not so thankful for that.

Soon after the flight had taken off,
they turned out the cabin lights so passengers could tuck themselves in
under the complimentary blankets which were slightly thicker than double ply tissue paper.

Passenger 21E, oblivious to the rules of engagement regarding lights out,
began to tell me everything I didn’t want to know about life in the state of Wyoming.

It was then that the crew thought it best to start beverage service,
assuming most of us needed a jolt of caffeine at 12:15AM.

I closed my eyes in an attempt
to make Passenger 21E and the beverage cart go away. 
Unsuccessful on both counts.
Passenger 21E thought it important to give me a detailed count about the weather of Wyoming.
The beverage cart chose to slam me in the shin.

Shortly after my leg was traumatized, the sneezing fit started.
That would be MY sneezing fit undoubtedly aided by the fine air quality
experienced in most airline cabins.

There are few people less desirable on a flight than someone with a cold.
If I had been wearing a scarlet letter on my forehead, it would have been “S” for Sneezer.

My sneezing fit accomplished several things, mostly negative.
-It kept me wide awake along with all other passengers in a 5 row radius.
-It afforded me menacing glares from fellow travelers.
-And it awoke the baby in row 22.

On the good side, it did though, halt Passenger 21E’s narrative regarding the glories of Wyoming,
because it is difficult to talk over a crying baby.

By 12:45 AM, the baby fell asleep by virtue of exhaustion (lucky little guy).
I decided if a baby could do it, then so could I.
Since my drowsy cold medicine hadn’t done the trick, I went to plan B…… ear plugs.
This plan of salvation might have had a chance except that within ten minutes, 
the ear plug in my right ear dislodged and fell somewhere into the personal space of  Passenger 21E,
who had fallen asleep after having told me all things you need to know about the state of Wyoming.

Rather than disturb the sleeping giant from Wyoming,
I decided to  go with one ear plug.
Let me say, if there is anything more useless than 1 ear plug, I don’t know what it is.

Falling asleep in an upright position in a confined space is not easy.
Falling asleep in an upright position to the soothing tones of a roaring plane engine is a tad more difficult.

I must have fallen asleep at some point as I recall some vague dream about skiing downhill on rocket propelled snow skis.
I was brought back to total miserable consciousness just prior to landing via full cabin lighting and the captain’s cheerful wakeup call,
only to find that Passengers 21E and I had used each other as pillows.

I have never felt so close to the state of Wyoming as I did in that moment.

I never thought about how two small letters  AM  or PM, can make such a huge difference in one’s life.

Faith is a lot like that.
It’s the small things in how we practice faith that make the biggest differences.

Most people think of the “big” things     attend worship,  go on mission trips, daily Bible study
Those are important. But how about  small changes to our lives? Things like…..
- slowing down one’s pace of living
  -shifting daily focus from doing to being. Realizing God cares more about who one is than what one accomplishes.
  -choosing to do things because they please God rather than impress man
  -cultivating humility by allowing people to see one’s faults and by choosing to serve others
  -giving one’s day to God by seeing Him in everything that comes one’s way
  -seeking God’s measure of success rather than one’s own measure, by saying yes to what He says to do 

Small things can change our days. If they are small things for God, they can turn out to have big impacts.
Who knows what can happen?  

An “A” rather than a “P” and
I now know all I ever wanted to know about Wyoming.
Only 49 more states and 49 more red eyes to go!

He has shown you, O man,
what is good;
And what the Lord does require of You
  but to do justice,
to love kindness,
  and to walk humbly with Your God?
                                                 Micah 6:8

No comments: