Friday, May 11, 2007

Maybe We Could Just Follow the Planes...

If you have been keeping up with my blog over the last few posts, you have probably noticed that God seems to be doing a real number on me when it comes to my heart. I truly believe that the last couple of months have been an intense exercise in learning to love – an exercise that is transforming my heart, my attitude (I truly hope those around me often can tell a difference) and my life.

The things that God is teaching me are coming out in my blogs, in my journal and also in my teachings. In church right now, we are doing a series entitled: Revolution. The series is all about learning to love – truly love – people as Christ has commanded us to. Last week I taught that love is patient – or – slow to anger.

The way I see it – I am on a steep learning curve and it seems like God has no desire to allow me to remain the same or to run in place. Yippee.

As I write, I am on an airplane flying back to New Orleans from Chicago, where I was doing an Alpha conference.

So, I have to share this story with my 3 faithful blog readers.

Just for fun, I’m going to let you in on the process of me learning to love.

This morning I taught the first session at the conference and as soon as the session was over, this young girl found us and said, “I’m Emily. I’m taking you guys to the airport.”

We had a bit of a cushion, but I knew going to O’Hare Airport in Chicago we would need a good amount of time to check in, so I was anxious to get going.

We loaded our bags and hopped into her car. As we started driving we made some small conversation and then she says, “I am so bad with directions. I hope I can find this place.”

This statement caught me off guard and to be honest with you it scared me a little.

Immediately I began to have thoughts…bad thoughts…things like:

Aren’t you from here? You don’t know how to get to the freakin’ airport?

You have got to be kidding!

You’re not really a brunette, are you?

You have one job for this conference – getting people to the airport!

Maybe we could just look up in the sky and see all the freakin’ planes and follow them!

There must be over a million people who live in Chicago and this is the only person they could find to bring us to the airport?

At this point I really was a little nervous…so here is the conversation that I actually had out loud with Emily.

Brian: “So, Emily….do you live around here?”

Emily: “Yes. I live close by.”

B: “No kidding. Do you get out much?”

E: “Yea…”

B: “But you don’t head over to the airport to often?”

E: “No….but…last year for this conference I took a bunch of people to the airport, but that was like a year ago.”

B: “Oh.”

At this time, Emily pulled out her phone and called her mom for directions.

As she talked to her mom, I sat quietly in the backseat, looked up and watched all of the planes that were flying over our heads. And I began to have more thoughts.

We’re screwed.

Don’t look at Shawn (who was traveling with me.)

Maybe she could just take us back to the conference.

There must be over a million people who live in Chicago and this is the only person they could find to bring us to the airport?

As these thoughts are flying around in my head, we pulled into a gas station to ask for directions. I was at least happy that she was a girl, because asking directions at a gas station was not going to be a problem for her.

At this point, I started thinking that we would certainly miss our flight so I pulled out my phone to text my dad.

The text read….

“They got some 22 year old chick who doesn’t know where the hell she is going to take us to the airport. We are currently at a gas station asking for directions.”

I waited for a few minutes and finally received a text back from my old man. It said, “Love is patient.”

Indeed it is.

We made it to the airport in plenty of time. I remained calm the whole way and did not let my thoughts or my emotions dictate how I treated Emily or responded to her. Instead, I chose patience. (Thanks dad.)

When we got out of the car Shawn and I shared our thoughts and pretty much agreed on two things.

1. Choosing to do the right thing is always the right thing to do.

2. In the future whenever we are asked to take someone, somewhere…we might not know where we’re going…but we’ll never let on to that fact.


Chad (Captain) Estes said...

Good lesson, Brian. I have been learning to travel with more patience as well. Yesterday I failed. I was on my way to Seattle to see four friends I hadn't seen in 21 years. The person taking us to the airport decided to take the scenic route. Our plane was delayed. People wouldn't load the plane fast and then they wouldn't get off once we arrived. I lost the chance to be life-giving to anyone along the way because I was so tense. Thanks for your blog today. It has held me accountable as well.

fuel52 said...

Dood, freakin 5 years ago you'd have bitten her head off! But you would have felt bad about it afterwards...

Seriously, I don't know you as well as some others know you but I have known you for about 8 or so years and you definately have come a long way with patience.

But how do you live in a city and NOT know how to find the airport? Or how about the guy assigning said person to escort dignitaries (i use the term lightly) to the airport?

It's all about testing, i think.

Only 3?

Crispin Schroeder said...

Well Alright! I had a freakin 10 hour trip back from California last week but I had a good book I was reading so that helped. Sometimes getting to the airport is just the first test of patience. Being on a plane for 6+ hours when the flight was to be 3 hours long isn't fun either. But when it's a weather issue I guess my only choice is to get impatient with God which I don't recommend if you ever want to get where you're going (ha!).

oribac said...

Man, you should have just freakin asked Emily Emily to go ask Tom Tom...

(Normally I wouldn't say freakin, but I freakin fealt too much freakin peer pressure...)

Becky said...

Freakin. Just thought I would say it too. You know, everytime I come back to New Orleans, I say that word for a few days until I get enough funny looks from the Nashvillians. :) Here we say, shiiii.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how much I like to be in control, and when I'm not, I get tense and even fearful. I have even realized that because I drive all the time, I am hardly ever being driven, and I now get scared whenever someone else is behind the wheel. It takes a few minutes before I can trust them.

Here is where I would like to be: I want to know so deeply that I am loved by God, that he cares for me and is truly with me in every moment, that I can relax and trust.

"Love is patient"--this is certainly a way to help us all keep our mouths shut with the freaks behind the wheel (there's that word again coming out since I'm talking to my NOLA brothers) but beyond that, I want to know that I am loved, and that no matter what happens, if I lose my way or things do not go as planned, that God is working on my behalf. I mean really, really knowing that he cares for me. And knowing this, I will then be in a state of mind-calm and secure,not anxious-to truly love and be patient with the people behind the wheel.

My plan is to digest this before I get on a plane Sunday. Southwest won't let me fly it. Shii.

Greg Prosch said...

Hey man, I was all excited to see you at the conference and asked Chad if he had run into you. Of course, he reminded me that you were at the Alpha thing which I then remembered you telling me about. Ah well... Too bad you weren't with us since we knew our way to and from the airport.

curia_regis said...

Following the planes wouldn't work man...Chi-town's got 2 airports.

jeansonne said...

Both smart and witty curia regis...but everyone knows that no one uses Midway.