As I boarded this morning’s flight to Houston, hands shaking and head pounding off of 2 hours of sleep, I couldn’t help but to have a slight attitude with life and everyone in it. Granted, I could have made life a little easier for myself by perhaps not waiting to pack an hour before my trip, not waiting until the last minute to check into my flight, and well, a whole list of other time-saving strategies that would have prevented a rushed start to a long week. Nonetheless, on my way to a random seat, I was sure to curse the morning for being what it was created to be: early, I cursed Southwest airlines for not having assigned seating and soon I sluggishly found my way to a middle seat that neither neighbor seemed happy to see me in. I rejoiced for a pretty quick boarding process and seemingly on-time departure, which almost never happens when I fly. As I settled into my seat, trying as I usually do to find the best position to get as comfortably uncomfortable as possible, I took note of our flight attendants for this 4-hour lift. One of the young ladies especially stood out to me because of how young her pale, acne-covered face, looked. She had long blonde hair which was pulled up into a side ponytail, which led me to believe she had to be no more than 18 (or whatever the legal age for flight attending might be).
–INSERT JUDGEMENT HERE-
Ok so I know what I’m about to say is a LOT judgmental, but it would be a lie if I wrote anything else and in fact that initial judgment serves as the essence of this piece. With that said, I was DEFINITELY discouraged with her onboard, because in my mind she had to be inexperienced and had no business being on a long flight like this with so many people to care for. I legitimately felt a little uneasy knowing that in the case of an emergency, she probably wouldn’t know what to do, and therefore posed as more of a threat than a calming solution. Yes, I was totally judging her based on her look, especially because in over a hundred flights, this was the first time I’d ever seen someone so young. I watched her intently, trying to catch her doing something wrong as to confirm my suspicion of incompetence but the most wrong I could find was her awkward gum chewing and occasional check of the nails. As the last passenger boarded, and she closed and bolted the door, I imagined the door swinging open and all of us being sucked out because she somehow bolted it wrong. Petty, I know. She stood in the front, completing her safety demonstration, and did a final walk-through of the section before taking her seat as we prepared for takeoff. The pilot taxied from the gate, took his place on the runway and before I knew it we were speeding to takeoff. Suddenly, the most incredible thing I’ve seen in all my many flights happened. The flight attendant, who I’d judged and criticized from the moment I boarded, hopped out of her seat and ran to a man who had not been buckled into his seat. She yelled “sir!” and quickly grabbed the belt hanging over the side of the seat and clipped it together. At this point I literally thought this little lady might tumble down the aisle because of the steep incline we had already approached, but thank God she made it back to her seat and buckled herself in. While I suppose no one really thought this was a big deal, I also assume no one else judged her to be incompetent the way I did. Man did I feel stupid and petty, and God sure don’t like pettiness lol.
Soooo many lessons that I’ve reflected on from this experience. The first is obviously a lesson in judgment. Not only should we not judge a book by its cover, but we should also not judge someone’s position over their purpose. If we as Christians say we trust God in all matters, then that means we trust Him for others’ purpose being lived out, regardless of our perception of their position. We get so caught up in someone’s title, and whether or not they actually deserve that title, that we forget even they are living in their purpose.
The other thing I want to emphasize is the fact that even if my flight attendant was as young as I believe, I, along with so many other “adults” find it hard to put our trust in the hands of our youth because of all the negative things we see and hear. I can also admit however, that in my time teaching I saw first hand how clever and passionate our young people can be when we mentor them and trust them with the skills we impart. If I weren’t in front of my classroom everyday instilling values of respect, love, hard-work, and many other Christian principles, then yes, I might be afraid of them, but because I trusted the skills I equipped them with I was then also able to trust my babies inside my classroom but more importantly OUTSIDE of my classroom. How are YOU mentoring and molding the folks coming behind us?
The last lesson I took from this morning was in my ability to find some time to catch a few zz’s on the plane. If you’ve ever flown, then you know all too well how hard it is to get comfortable in your tight, restricted seat. After many, many flights anywhere from 25 minutes to 13 hours, I’ve learned how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’ll leave you with this, God will not always put us in places, spaces, and seasons where we are comfortable; but even in the most chaotic, restrictive, and cramped places, we can find comfort and rest in God knowing He is always in control. Have you learned how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable?
I am beyond tired! I’ll catch yall on the flip…