A Dripping Faucet

IMG_0481Have you ever been in the company of a complainer? You know the type, someone who constantly focuses on the negative. I’m afraid, there are days I’m one—especially when stuck behind a slow driver (and we get a lot of them on our one-lane roads.) But God is so gracious—He gives us a glimpse of what we might be like without His Spirit working through us. Just such an occasion came up last week at the airport.

Although we thoroughly enjoyed our vacation, we were anxious to get home and headed to the airport in plenty of time—or so we thought. When flying internationally, it’s required to arrive three hours prior to flight time. We weren’t quite that early, but when we entered the United Airlines door, we wished we had been as the line was a horrific maze of bodies—all the way to the door. And though my natural instinct would to be a low-level panic, I felt complete peace. So, we wait in line rather than at the gate. No worries. And then the “complainer” arrived.

“This is bleep!” she said. “We’ll never get through this line in time for our flight.” She was accompanied by two high-school senior girls—her daughter and friend—neither of whom seemed to be concerned. The woman then left her overweight bag with the girls and paced ahead only to come back with more colorful language. “I’m very impatient,” she said—like we didn’t figure it out for ourselves. “I’d pay $1,000 to anyone who could get me to the head of the line. Seriously,” she added, when I looked at her incredulously.

She was flying into Houston for a layover then onto Chicago, and her flight boarded an hour before ours. Since we were a half hour later than suggested, that put her much later than us. I had to bite my tongue to not point out she put herself in this position. Within an hour, she’d let everyone in the vicinity know how upset she was—and her complaints started to take a dive (if possible.) Soon, she was disparaging the entire Mexican race—as if their intelligence was the reason the line was so long.

I was quite impressed with the professionalism and courtesy of those working at the airport. As flight times came close, a representative came out and gathered everyone in line who needed to board. No one was going to miss their flight that day. Yet, every time a the reps came out for those who needed to board an earlier flight, she’s ask them when they were coming for her, then complain further when they told her she’d need to wait. At first, the girls with her seemed embarrassed by her behavior, but soon, they were imitating her attitude—complaining about their vacation, how ridiculous it was that they had to wait in line, worried that they’d miss their flight.

At one point, I turned to her and said, “You’re making yourself sick with worry, and it’s not going to change anything.” She nodded. “You’re right, but I can’t help it. I have a very long day of travel and I can’t wait to get out of this country.” In the span of a couple hours, whatever benefits she gained from her vacation were gone. And worse, she was infecting those around her with her attitude. We all gave a sigh in relief when she was finally taken for her flight.

As we neared the head of the line, a rep came out and asked if anyone was taking our flight and connecting to San Francisco as their final destination. Chris and I told her we were, and she asked us to accompany her. It turns out our flight was overbooked and they wanted to put us on another one—direct to San Francisco—and we’d be given the emergency aisle, so our seats would have extra leg room. We not only traveled in comfort, we arrived two hours earlier than expected. That’s what I call divine intervention!

The bigger benefit, however, is that God gave me a glimpse of how quickly poor behavior can infect not only ourselves, but those around us. The next time I’m tempted to whine or complain, I’m going to remember the woman at the airport, and God’s grace toward us for being patient.

2 thoughts on “A Dripping Faucet

  1. Good reminder Jennifer! Can’t wait to see you on Thurs! I’ve really enjoyed you vacay blogs btw.
    See you soon!

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