“Stupid Idiot”, Dick Vermeil, irritations, and good counsel


I was reminded of an important lesson on my trip to Atlanta this past weekend. Here it is: Its easy to get overly fixated on the various irritations of life; the interpretations we make show a lot about our outlook; good counsel comes in surprising packages. What am I talking about? Read on for my tale of woe and healthy rebuke.

On Friday, I arrived with Diane Langberg at the Philadelphia Airport. I had left my car at her house so we could ride together to the airport. As we got on the shuttle to go to the airport from the park-n-ride, I realized my wallet was missing. I had no ID and no money and couldn’t check-in. I made some calls and my wife and another colleague met at my car, got the wallet, and my colleague drove (Thanks Bev! Drove or flew?) it to the airport while I waited outside next to the sky-cap. What was going through my head while waiting? “You idiot.” You see, I have a long history of forgetting and losing things for periods of time. Standing next to the skycap I made some conversation with him as he was quite friendly. I made a brief mention of my idiocy. He immediately rebuked me with a big smile. No, this wasn’t a crisis. I had my health, it was fixable, and God was good. He went on to say that his wife died 8 years ago of MS. She suffered much and though he missed her, he was glad she was no longer suffering. I observed this man’s deep faith, love for people and for doing his job well. He was a blessing to me.

My wallet came and I made my flight. But while standing there, Dick Vermeil popped out of a cab. He put on his leather jacket and went to the back where the cabbie was pulling his luggage out of the trunk. Mr. Vermeil then noted that the sleeve of his jacket was soaked. It must have happened in the cab. I suspect many people might have blown their lids, especially if the jacket was expensive and they were a celebrity. But he didn’t. He quietly made it known to the cabbie and then went on his way. The skycap helped him with his bags and then said to me, “you know, there are two kinds of people in the world. Those who are easily irritated and those who are relaxed. I try to smile and help them both.”

What a good counselor and thoughtful man. I took pleasure in watching a man do a thankless job with joy. That was a true servant of God.

4 Comments

Filed under christian counseling, Uncategorized

4 responses to ““Stupid Idiot”, Dick Vermeil, irritations, and good counsel

  1. The CounterBlogger

    You are ahead of me.
    I would have been irritated that he rained on a really good irritation.

  2. wendy chou

    Haven’t had time to read your blogs lately due to busyness and …stress. It’s so refreshing to read about your airport experience. It would be hard not to feel like a stupid idiot especially when traveling with the”boss”. Thanks for this wonderful story. With so many negative images, news and people around to remind us of our inadquecies, we need to remind ourselves that one accident is not the end of the world; God still loves us when we feel like idiots; life is still good and there are hopes for those of us who are forgetful.

  3. karen gibbons

    i was at the same conference this weekend and really liked your words on repentance & restoration, so i came to your site to read more. i read this post first and had to laugh! my friend and i were trying leave very quickly on sunday morning because my husband was leaving for a work trip as soon as i got home. we were shocked to discover that she had locked the keys in the car! we ended up having to wait an hour for aaa to get there, and another hour for them to get in the car. my friend called herself many names including stupid idiot. i was really surprised to find myself being pretty calm – i can only say that it was due to the fact that i had seen God “show up” for me in some amazing ways last weekend and he just seemed more “real” so i was ok with believing that maybe there was a good reason for it all. in reflection, i can definitely say that i have been quite cynical of God lately- not expecting him to do very much for me, so the peace in that situation and seeing him answer some direct questions of my heart over the weekend has been a balm to my soul during some really rough times.

  4. Karen, thanks for your comments here. I do think our responses to these kinds of irritations really show how connected, in that moment, to the wider view that the Gospel gives us. Unfortunately for me, I see far too often I am not much connected to that wider view…

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