The Executive Mailing Tube
I just flew in from Oklahoma City last night. On Sunday, I fly to Omaha, rent a car, and head to York to speak the next six days at Soulquest. When I get back, the next morning I drive down to Detroit for that is the Sunday Rochester switches pulpits with one of our larger black churches in the area. After that I have one Sunday here and then fly to New Jersey for a four day meeting.
Why am I this busy? It's not because I'm good. I think it's because I'm cheap.
Most of these trips require flying. I hate flying. I hate having to drag out my laptop, take off my shoes and belt, and balance my boarding pass and ID all at the same time while some angry, bored, and impatient TSA agent starts staring at me while slipping on the latex gloves. I hate the smell of airplanes -- a distillation of sweat, BO, perfume, dirt, fear and despair. I hate the fact that airline seats were designed for leprachauns with masochistic tendencies. I hate the fact that every other preacher (I'm going by their sermon illustrations) has deep spiritual conversations with their seatmates and all I want to do is survive mine. I hate the noise -- engines, a dozen conversations, kids who evidently hate the plane as much as I do -- and I hate the fact that it costs a bundle and you can't even get pretzels or peanuts on most flights any more.
And I hate getting butt-whacked. This last flight, for example. The plane pushed away from the gate and stopped (that way, they can log it as an on-time departure even though nothing went anywhere). After twenty minutes the pilot came on and asked us to move around. It seemed the weight and balance figures for our plane weren't good and we were nose heavy. They asked the people in the first two rows to relocate further back. They didn't move. They refused to move. I could see why. Three of them were women approximately the size of York, Nebraska. I don't say that to be unkind -- merely stating facts here. One carried a gallon Tupperware jug full of sweet tea (I know it was because someone had drawn those words on the side with a magic marker). In the two seat row on the left, she touched both external armrests. It reminded me of the time that I saw a 300 pound woman in the mall with a T-shirt saying "Guess." I went with "thyroid disorder."
Each of the heavy women and two heavy men had to use the facilities a few times during flight. Each time I, sitting on the aisle, couldn't lean away far enough and therefore got well and truly butt-whacked (or should I say derriere-drubbed, rear-rapped?). I'm used to the drink cart catching my knees and businessmen swinging their laptop case around like it was a bolo, decking everyone in a four foot circle and acting like they don't notice... but I draw the line at butt-whacking. It's not only painful and embarrassing -- it seems immodest and impure somehow.
The devil knows this. He likes airplanes. I think he is the CSO (Chief Sulphuric Officer) of Northwest at least. Maybe Delta, too, since they have their own little separate purgatory terminal in Cincinnati. He knows he can get me in a bad mood in zero point zero seconds in an airplane. Then -- I spew out of the plane with the rest of the rumpled and stinky herd and head to a religious gathering. It usually takes me a few songs before I can join in.
I wonder if Paul was a good traveler? I wonder if he got sick on the boat when he was in a storm. I wonder if the apostles ever got fed up with the snacks served on Oxcart West. I wonder if Jesus got migraines.
All I know is this: if God can use me after I've been on an airplane, then He is truly God of Gods and Lord of Lords. As long as He wants me to travel and speak, I will, because I love Him and want to share the good news.
Just don't expect me to be happy about the journey. And where are my $@#& pretzels!