Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Grace (not snakes) on a Plane

Jon Acuff at Stuff Christians Like Blog.  Always funny:

You know that small dog that barks at cars, ’cause they’re large, loud, moving objects? He’s got that shrill, sharp bark that chips away pieces of your soul each time you hear it? But you don’t mind because you drive by him pretty quickly and he’s gone. You know that dog? He was on my flight last week. And he was pretty sure that, if he barked long enough, he’d be able to scare away the large, loud, moving object we were all on. Or he was doing the dog version of an NFL touchdown dance, showing off to all the other dogs that had to ride in the back of the plane with the luggage, while he relaxed in an aisle making frequent visits to “barktown.”

Hard to say, but in that moment I was not bubbling over with grace and kindness. But then I remembered the post I wrote about Grace Spots.

The idea was that there are some places where I have to be really deliberate about showing grace to people. The post was inspired because I was a jerk to someone at a restaurant.

That was a dangerous post to write, though, because it’s easy to blog about grace and less easy to actually live it out. Especially on a plane. So now that I’ve been traipsing about the country and doing terminal writing, I thought it might be good to figure out a few people I needed to show some Grace on a Plane.

1. The person who seems surprised we landed.
I feel like dropping out of the sky from 35,000 feet, giving 19 “please put up your tray table” announcements and making contact with the crust of the earth would be enough of an indication that the flight was over. But sometimes I get stuck behind passengers that seem surprised it’s time to get their carry on luggage out of the overhead and move on. Let’s be honest though, at worst, that’s costing me 3 minutes of wait time. I need to quit being such an impatient punk. If someone’s having trouble getting their luggage down, I should help, not fume. Grace on a plane.

2. The person who jumps out of their seat when you land and cuts in front of you to get off.
That’s the great thing about being ungracious, you get to be frustrated by both situations. You get to complain about the person who takes too long to get off the plane and the person who gets off too quickly. The truth is, that guy might have a connecting flight he’s going to miss if he doesn’t get off. Or he’s been out of town for a month on a business trip and his three year old is down at baggage claim waiting for him with his wife and he’d pop the emergency exit and use that awesome slide to get out faster if he had to. I don’t know his story, and some punk writer named Jon Acuff said on a blog called Stuff Christians Like that it’s easy to judge someone when you don’t know their story. Grace on a plane.

3. Chatty McGee.
I’ve got headphones in. They’re bright white and could not be more obvious looking. I’ve got a bunch of writing to do right now. I can’t talk. I’m really busy. What’s that you ask, what am I working on? I’m writing a blog that’s about Jesus and being compassionate to people and reaching out to people and … oh. Dang it. Grace on a plane.

The more I write about my frustrations and my lack of grace, the sillier it all seems to me. But maybe there’s hope. A few weeks ago, a lady spilled a glass of white wine on me and my backpack. I got off the plane smelling like a box o’ wine. And I just laughed it off and helped her clean it up. Maybe I’m becoming less of a jerk. Maybe.

Have you ever needed grace on a plane?

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