Stress and Delight

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(Posted from British Airways #154)

Just a few comments on traveling…
The stress points are often at airline check-in, hotel check-out, and haggling with taxi drivers. Stressful because you can get bad surprises. There’s nothing quite like showing up at the airport and, “sorry sir, but we can’t find you in our system.” (We’ve had no problems on this trip, thankfully). To deal with the stress moments it’s easy to build a wall of sophistication, to provide distance between reality and how we deal with it.

The “delight” moments are gazing down on a thunderstorm; or seeing from your plane’s window a hurricane 100 miles away slowly churning its way across the sea; or landing in San Diego and Mexico City- in both places you skim almost between buildings; or approaching Cairo at night with the thin green minarets lit up across the city. Delightful experiences because they’re not ordinary, not easily described, and from an incredible perspective. We try to take snapshots but know no one will understand.

The “overwhelming” moments are when your plane’s on final approach to any city and you realize, again, how big it is and how insignificant you are. When you realize how many sincere spiritual people in the world ignore, or are ignorant of, the Jesus event, which has meant everything to you.

Basically, traveling diminishes your sense of self-importance and heightens your sense of wonder.

Today we have the delight of landing in London, perhaps the poster child of a cynical and witty people; where everyone leaves me feeling inferior (I think it’s the accent). It’s as though they’ve run so fast to the end of the pier that they missed everything along the way (the man weaving palm fronds, the cheerful lad begging “a dollar,” the lobster hiding under a rock, the clouds threatening on the horizon). They were so clever they missed them all.

Perhaps a bit slower walk and a few less witticism would help us all on this journey. Whether its a trudge through snow to the mailbox or a walk down the pier, just the air we breath should intoxicate us. Sincerity requires more effort than sarcasm, because sincerity means you’ve run to the end of the witty pier and slowly retraced your steps, to do it again, and right this time.

The “delight” moments surround us, surround you. Every day. Traveling can teach us to see them, frame them, and treasure them.
David Roller

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