Last month, my flight to Denver from Memphis was bumpy enough on its own. I had some reservations about flying out in a thunderstorm and landing in a snowstorm to begin with but I had made a commitment and wanted to keep it so I dragged my luggage into the Memphis terminal, checked in, and got in line at the security checkpoint. I was headed to at “Wild at Heart” men’s conference in Buena Vista Colorado.
Those of you who know me know that I love Nutty Bars. They are great food for any time of day but especially at night, just before I go to sleep with a big glass of milk. (2% milk… I am trying to stay healthy.)
Being the type of person that never wants to inconvenience anyone else, I had taken care to check and double check all my bags and even wore floppy shoes so I could get through TSA quickly. The absolute last thing I wanted was to have a bunch of anxious and impatient travelers lined up behind me, slowed down because of me. Well, as you might know, God sometimes puts us into places where we can’t escape the fact that we might need to address some things in our lives. Apparently, he wants me to consider my ability to “wait” and my fear of causing others discomfort. So here is how I think he did it.
My nutty bars were the only thing in my carry on that was edible but I took the risk (even though I saw the raised eyebrow of Ms. Toni when I packed them) because I think I can’t make it without nutty bars before I go to bed. I had a whole box in there. They were sealed and I thought to myself, “How could they possibly have a problem with that?” Well, let me tell you. They can!
As I stood at the x-ray machine bare footed and holding my pants up with one hand, already pretty much humiliated, I hear a voice behind me yell “RED BAG! NUTTY BARS!”
“What?” I thought in horror. “No way! This isn’t happening!” Oh yes. It is happening alright. I realized that, as I turned to see four security personnel rush to check out the bag in question. As I turned, I was quickly reminded to be still as the x-ray did its job.
So now I have taken up the time of five security personnel in a smaller airport security checkpoint and I can feel the burning sensation on the back of my neck as travelers behind me quickly surmised that I was not only the culprit responsible for their delay but that I was somewhat less than brilliant for bringing on something as silly as a nutty bar.
Within a matter of thirty seconds, every person within a hundred feet was looking at me and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. “Good Lord! I just want to put on my shoes and run away!” Nope, that is not happening.
After an attentive inspection I stood shamed and nervous as I asked the head-honcho guard if it was okay? He laughed and said “As long as you don’t mind sharing with the rest of us.” I replied, “Man, you can have all you want just let me get outta here.” He was very kind about it and they let me get dressed and on my way.
I think TSA gets a bad rap. They were really nice to me and they certainly didn’t have to be.
I think they called ahead to Denver for me because even though on my return trip I had no nutty bars in my bag, they did catch me with two baby wipes in my pocket and that set off a whole new set of alarms, and a search of my person along with a stern warning that “If the “smiley face” doesn’t come up on the computer after we swabbed your hands, we have a problem!”. I think I might have needed a diaper at that point.
In a much bigger crowd of laser-eyed travelers in Denver, TSA was still as nice as they could be. That did not, however, prevent me from sweating through my clothes in a panic attack. I have never been so glad to get on a plane in my life!
So what did I learn from this experience? On top of a mountain in the Colorado Rockies at sunrise, I really believe I felt God ask me, “You don’t wait well do you?” This feeling came on as I tapped my watch and internally said to him “Come on God, get that sun up. I am here, I am waiting, and I have things to do at this Ransomed Heart event. I need to get a picture. Let’s go!”
God doesn’t answer well to my demands. He is; however, kind and gentle when he is helping me to see an agreement I have made that is hurting me. “You can live without nutty bars. You can live without baby wipes. You can even be a little uncomfortable and wait for things, those won’t hurt you. But you can’t live without me.”
Yeah, I know some people do live without him. But I can’t. Not anymore. He is my friend and he helps me in areas and things that I didn’t even know I needed help with. That’s all folks. He is just that good.
Can I recommend, quickly here, the app for your phone “RansomedHeart”? If you know of John Eldredge and Wild at Heart or Captivating by John and Staci Eldredge, you know it is a great resource and very “heart” healthy. And, it’s free!
In closing, I hope you can use my embarrassment and unnecessary self-reproach, impatience, and yes, a little bit of gluttony, and have a laugh today. I hope you never have to go through this type of thing. I am almost certain you won’t because let’s face it, you don’t have a nutty bar addiction like me. But, as funny as it is seems, it is also loving and reminds me to slow-down, breathe, and stop worrying so much. It will all be okay. God knows what he is doing.
May God bless you more than you know. If you haven’t given him a chance to help you, what do you have to lose? Feel free to reach out if I can be of help.
Thank you to you all, and to my wonderful wife, my son, my daughters and to the Ransomed Heart team for making my life so much better. Oh yeah, and “Thank you God. You rock!”