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At the best of times, travel can be stressful. When one is late, it’s a nightmare. I was running late for a flight to Asia. I was scheduled to deliver some lectures on cross-cultural communication for the Southeast Asian contingent of invitees for the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Seoul, S.K. I had to catch the flight in Minneapolis, and although I was sort of familiar with the airport, it was still a bit confusing. Roads were icy and treacherous, traffic was bad, and I was altogether stressed. I got into the TSA lineup and proceeded to take my jacket off, my shoes and belt off, and the contents of my carry-on out of the briefcase I was carrying...the computer, and the liquids (in a ziplock bag). I was scolded by a surly TSA agent who said that the computer had to be by itself. So I had to push in front of others to get yet another plastic bin, and then I got in line for the metal detector gate. It took forever, and one elderly gentleman was sent through the gate two or three times, first removing his shoes and then his belt. Finally I got through, knowing where my gate was quite precisely, but not knowing how far that would be. (It was far.) I grabbed my belt and saved my pants. Briefcase was next with the ziplock and my watch, etc. Then I took my shoes over to the side and wrestled my feet into them and I began to run. I got to my gate, only to discover that the flight was delayed (weather) and I had to wait a bit. Slowly but surely my breathing normalized, and I was beginning to relax. Offhandedly (to this day I don’t know why), I began to inventory the contents of my briefcase. Books, papers....computer? Oh no.
I had forgotten it at home once before, but I knew I had it this time. I had seen it at security. Oh no...
My heart sank....it was still at security. I had to go back. At that moment the attendant announced that “we’ll be beginning the boarding process in a few minutes.” I had to run...again. I ran and ran and arrived back at the checkpoint. After finally finding a person who would listen to me, they helped me look for my computer....(evidently, I was not the only one to do such a thing). And then I turned around and ran back to the gate. I was the last to board.
When I took my seat, I was relieved, and grateful and said a prayer of thanksgiving that I’d found my computer and that I’d not missed my plane.
My celebration was silent, and personal and invisible to everyone else, but for me it was truly joyful.
How do you celebrate when that which you’ve lost has been found? How loud is your celebration? This weekend we’ll discuss heaven’s celebrations when repentant sinners have been found. It’s a pretty loud celebration! That’s how it ought to be!