Blog 365 · Life Chronicles

Airport Renderings at 4:30am


Well. That was a first. Spending the night in the airport … waiting for the re-assigned flight at 7:30am, shivering on a cold, vinyl chair, knowing sleep would never come to me till I got home.

Of course I was bitterly disappointed to know that I’d be spending my 14-hour layover on the East Coast instead of in my sister’s Seattle home, sharing tea & scones with her and getting to sleep in an actual bed. It was easy to spill tears of frustration and exhaustion before curling up with my head on my backpack, trying to stay warm first this way and then that.

Eventually, after a couple of restless hours of this, with snatches of sleep here and there and barely coherent texts to sweet friends who encouraged me that God was caring for me and to imagine, like Anne, that I was sleeping in a wild cherry tree (I’m really grateful that my friends know me so well!) – I sat up, knowing I’d just have to bear with staying awake. So I pulled out the World magazine in my backpack, and instantly felt shamed when my eyes fell on a story mentioning Syrian refugees. Suddenly I could identify with these refugees – except for them, this is their whole life – being displaced, sleeping in random places, shivering cold, not knowing where their next meal will come from.

For me, middle-class American that I am, this is not my whole story. I will end up on a plane which will take me to my home where there is food and a bed and a permanent roof over my head. And yet I can’t handle one night of discomfort in an airport without throwing a small fit? God have mercy on my ungrateful, entitled soul.

I have no doubt that God gives me these experiences to remind me who is actually in charge of my life. I feel comfort and security when I can predict what will happen next and when I feel in control of my circumstances. Pull the rug out from under my feet with a few delayed flights, and what do I do? I panic and complain. I can’t bear the thought of my comforts going away for one night when around the world, there are millions who go without such comforts all.the.time. Where is my sense of empathy? Where is my sense of gratitude for all that I have been given? Why do I feel entitled to all these things in my life that are not actually guarantees?

Because I am a selfish beast who wants what’s best for herself with the least amount of trouble. For crying out loud, I was just on vacation in the Bahamas! Talk about being a privileged American. I have so much to learn about willingly giving up my comforts and my rights to help those in need, let alone learning not to complain when things don’t always go according to my schedule. I need to constantly be exposed to others’ stories so that I don’t get too caught up in my own. And most of all, I need to learn to give up my own comforts so that I can give a little more security to those who might be hurting.

One of the greatest things I value is home, routine, and security in that home. There are so many in this world who don’t have those things for whatever reason, and my desire is to invite them into my home as a sanctuary – a refuge – a place where they, too, can feel at home if even for a small time. It can take many different forms, but the simple act of extending hospitality to weary and worn “life-travelers” can make a world of difference.

So, although I may be finishing this post up at home on my cozy couch, brewing a cup of tea to wind down the evening with my airport night past me, I don’t want to forget its discomforts. I don’t want to forget the ache for that place called home so that I know how others might feel who also ache for it. I want to remember in order to extend loving comforts and securities that they might not get otherwise.

Because in the end, Jesus said that whatever we did to the least of these, we did for Him. And there are a lot of “least of these” out there. May my eyes be opened more to their needs and closed more to my own selfishness. And may I give the gift of a warm home to those who feel like they’ve been in way too many cold airports.

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