Monday, January 7, 2008

have mercy

When I came back to Richmond last week, I almost didn't make my flight. I should have arrived at the airport two hours before my flight, like they tell you to, but I didn't. I came one hour before takeoff, and had to stand in an unbelievably long line that queued around half the airport.

I shouldn't have gotten to have my bags checked. Skybus has a cutoff time for checking bags before the flight, and it's 30 minutes before takeoff. The people who were being helped at the station next to me were denied checking their bags because of that. But the girl helping me checked my bags anyway and told me she couldn't guarantee I'd make the flight, but run for it anyway.

I shouldn't have made the flight. They had already made the final boarding call and closed the gate. But they let me through anyway, and I was the last person on the plane before it took off.

As I sat in my seat, I felt so relieved and grateful for the people who'd had mercy on me. I can almost promise you that any other time, I would have been one of the passengers who'd come to the airport on time and sit in their seat thinking, "really, is it that hard to make your flight? they tell you to come to the airport two hours early for a reason. the rest of us managed to make it here-- what's wrong with you?"

That's me. By nature, I'm not a merciful person. I'm a person who likes to get things right the first time, every time, and who usually extends limited patience for all those others who can't seem to get it together. I'm the one saying, "Really, is it that hard to ... [insert menial task here]?"

And that is not okay.

I have to be reminded on a regular basis that there are some very simple things that I'm just way behind the curve on. "Really, Andrea, is it that hard to get to the airport at the appropriate time? Is it that hard to call or write your friends back? Is it that hard to make nice comments instead of snarky ones? Is it that hard to make people feel like they matter to you?"

And the answer is yes, yes it IS hard for me. I should have a bright pink Post-It note on my forehead that says "For the love of God, have patience with me. I don't mean to be like this all the time, and I swear I'll get better one day."

If only I were better at treating other people like they have those kinds of Post-Its. This is how it should go:

Andrea: "hey fool, is it really that hard to use your turn signal?"

Person: "yes, yes, it actually is kind of hard. i'm scared to death of driving on the freeway. for the love of God, have patience with me. i don't want to be like this, and i swear i'll get better one day."

Andrea: "yeah, okay, you're right. i'm sorry."

1 comment:

Ian Davis said...

I think God has every right to ask us the same question, "is it that hard to do [insert menial task here]?" But he doesn't. He does want us to grow closer to the character of Christ, but his pursuit of us does not waver or hesitate over our shortcomings.

Cool quote I came across - "God is tender and loves us just as we are, not in spite of our sins and faults, but with them" (Jesuit Bernard Bush).

And that picture of John Stamos really holds the post together. ;-)