I was leaving Detroit and it was 14 degrees with terrible traffic and lots of falling snow and the 30 minute drive turned into a 3 hour drive and I was 12 minutes late for the airplane and the lady at North West Airlines was really not professional given all that I had gone through to get there and then she told me I had missed the plane and to go call someone… (?!) I didn’t have much choice and so I called my friend who came back and we drove another two hours home and I got up again the next day and drove another 90 minutes back to the airport arriving in time to actually get on the plane.
Now, the beautiful thing was that I got an aisle seat right up front. I thankfully sat down emotionally exhaling as I thought of the 72 degree weather in phoenix, how close I was to being home and the fact that very few things in life pleased me more than getting an aisle seat on any sort of public transportation vehicle. Just right about the end of my celebratory exhaling a father came walking onto the plane. He said, “Excuse me, would you possibly mind sitting back in 20B, a middle seat, because I would really like to sit with my son?” I looked around, behind and to the side of me but then realized who he was talking to. You gotta be kidding me.
For a moment two worlds collided inside of me. The one world filled with Bible verses, Sunday School stories and potluck dinners and another much darker world filled with well, I think a curse word or two.
I looked at the father and the boy and back at the father and back… ok, you get the idea. I thought to myself or maybe I said it out loud, “Man I really don’t want to give up this aisle seat.” I looked helplessly around the plane. There was a big pause. The father waited. The people around me looked down at the floor or out the window silently thanking the airplane gods that the dad hadn’t asked them. Finally the man patted his sons head and reluctantly said, “That’s OK.” And I, sitting at the cross of two worlds got up quickly, mustered a smile and said, “No, I’ve got kids. I understand.” And actually I did.
I don’t know if I should admit this or not but as I was walking back to the end of the plane I suddenly realized that I liked myself. I’m not sure the whole reason why. Maybe because I really do want fathers and sons to sit together and what the heck is wrong with our airline systems that it’s financially prohibitive for families to sit together?
Or maybe because I really wanted to do something nice because I kinda think there is a semblance of like a karma-thing going on in life that is remotely related to the gospel-thing (although I would never print that or put it on the internet for millions of people to read).
Or maybe because I decided a long time ago who I was going to be and who I wasn’t going to be… and at times I actually live in the light of that decision.
I thought I should share that with you. I don't know all the reasons why but I liked myself.
My new seat afforded me the opportunity of sitting with people who were not smaller than me, who ate sausage and took naps on me throughout the flight. And then for an extended period of time I didn't like anyone.