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.