Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I think it is cabin fever/the mile high club

Airplanes are odd things. Sometimes you meet the skuzzy people who you wish fate hadn't put you with, you know the men who manage to take off their wedding rings during the flight or who just blatantly ask you to keep them company during their business trip while they have their rings clearly on. Other times you meet great people. I met a lady who will hopefully become a client on my trip to NYC and I met a wonderful man who I dated for a time about three months ago on a trip to AZ. Either way though it is a wonderful opportunity for someone like me to watch and figure out the dynamics of the people around me.

On my way to NYC I sat next to a couple that was from Seattle but originally from Prague and they were headed back there to visit family for the first time in 20 years. The husband was terrified of flying. Of course as soon as I found that out I was extremely sympathetic and did not joke with him about planes crashing or anything. You should have seen him go white when the pilot said "running out of fuel". It is fun for someone like me who is used to being tossed around in 4 seaters to watch an older guy go white at the thought of takeoff or landing. He offered me a shot of tequila a few minutes before takeoff - 8:00am. Cheers to NYC.

On the way to MN this past weekend I sat with a more cryptic couple. They weren't married and I could tell they were still really getting to know each other. They were definitely not "in love" yet but were very infatuated with one another. They disappeared for about 45 minutes at one point during the flight. Infatuation gave me a little extra space - I wasn't complaining.

Watching these interactions made me think about meeting and chatting with Dale on the way to AZ and the thoughts that must have been going through people's minds around us. I am sure there were many smirks and head shakes which we were oblivious to as people cheered us/him on. What is it about being trapped in a small space together that makes one more willing to "bond" with the people around you? Is it cabin fever? Is it boredom? Is it that you can create an alter ego and it stays within the plane if you want it to? Is it a plan that is bigger than any of us know? Is there such thing as fate?

So I have to admit I sat next to a guy on the way back from MN this time that was around my age maybe a bit younger and he began journaling about an hour outside of Seattle. I tried REALLY hard not to read over his shoulder but seriously, you can not sit that close to someone who is journaling and be as snoopy and interested in people as I am and not take a few peaks. It was really interesting what he was writing. He obviously had just gone through an experience where he wanted to share his faith with a friend who was either doubting or not believing. The experience made him doubt his ability to share the right words with this person. His entry was full of doubts in himself and his failures as someone who should be and wanted to be sharing the greatest love in his life, Christ, with others. He was asking questions of himself about using gifts and abilities. It was very introspective and interesting and really far too personal for me to be reading so I (eventually) stopped.

It made me think again about situations like a long ride in an airplane. How many times do we miss an opportunity to share something with a person sitting next to us - whether it be our faith or some other type of personal insight we have from life? How do we get on guard for those moments in life and am I doing enough sharing with those around me? What can I do to make myself more articulate in my everyday interactions? What if I was someone who needed to hear about the insight this guy sitting next to me had and he was too busy being concerned about his shortcomings to share? How do we turn from ourselves and become more concerned with those around us?

One place I can do that is coaching basketball. Unfortunately, I can't just come out and share certain things with the kids. For one thing the opportunities would be difficult to find while they are running lines and doing shooting drills, but for another I have to respect certain boundaries that coaching for the YMCA, now a completely secular organization, imposes. But you know what I can do? I can love those kids with all my heart for the 6 months that they are in my life. I can make them something that is a priority. I can play with them and let them know they are important. Many of these kids have no one to do that. Their parents work, their teachers are too busy with 20 other kids. They crave love and discipline and that is something I am more than happy to give them. I can be a friend that actually cares what the highlight of their week had been and I can be the first one to give them a highfive for a job well done. That is sharing Christ and a big part of me. As you know from previous entries I struggle with giving too much of myself but with these kids I don't know that that is really possible. Anyone interested in the biggest reward of your life? Love a child to Christ. There is nothing better.

1 comment:

quid ergo proquo said...

I'm really glad you didn't post the quadruple chin picture of me.