Sometimes, if we’re not careful, being driven can skew our vision of things. Rushing through this project, that appointment, or a current conversation to get to the next important thing blinds us to the presence of God and God’s leading in the here and now. Often drive can have the unintended effect of spawning an attitude of entitlement in us, “I deserve a break today!” Have you noticed how whenever we feel entitled we rarely experience or express gratitude?
This morning I headed to the airport a little later than I wanted (though I still gave myself plenty of time to get there). In my hurried state I whirled through the house like a small tornado. Then I hit I-25 north. It was an absolute standstill. Grumbling. Whining. Jockeying to get to the head of the line. Then I found a logger-jam at security. A hundred baby strollers lined up ahead of me. It took me three tries to board the train from the terminal to C concourse. Then, a delayed flight, packed plane, and incessant talking beside me. Feel sorry for me yet? Don’t.
An article I read from USA Today this morning rained on my pity-party. As of today 250,000 Syrians have been displaced from their homes. It is estimated that 1,000 more each day will flee from the violence that has destroyed their homes, ended their jobs, and often killed their family members. Their new homes are canvas tents dotting a dry and dusty landscape in Lebanon. Daily they struggle to find even the basic necessities of life- like ample food and clean water. They wait and hope and pray.
I left my beautiful wife and my lovely home to drive my new car on a bright sunny day to a modern airport with every convenience to board a tidy plane and sit next to clean and polite people as I travel to a job I like and see people I love…yeah, I am richly blessed. I truly have NOTHING to complain about!
It only took a brief article in a newspaper and a few moments of quiet contemplation to jolt me out of my sense of entitlement to awaken in me a deep, deep sense of gratitude for all I am and all I have. But gratitude can’t stop there. It has to seep out of me in tangible behaviors that create positive possibilities for others (think random acts of kindness) like vacating my seat so a couple that boarded the plane last can sit together. Yes, the squealing infant next to me was not part of my plan today. But I reminded myself to be grateful for this little gift of God and I offered up a silent prayer for peace for the Syrian families displaced in Lebanon. May their cries of pain soon yield to tears of joy. And may I find freedom from such small-minded and driven self-interest.
I am grateful! How about you?