I really don't enjoy traveling by plane, but it is a big part of my job and I accept it. As an introvert I get a bit squirrelly when my personal space is invaded. On a recent red eye flight from Anchorage to Minneapolis a large man sat next to me. For over five hours our shoulders and arms were in constant contact. Every time I dozed he would move and wake me. Consequently I was not able to sleep at all.
We live in community whether we like it or not. Sometimes we choose our community. Sometimes we do not. I've said often that when we say yes to following Jesus Christ we give up the right to choose who we will love and who we will not love. Darn it, Jesus! I wanted to be mad at that man who kept me up on the plane. Even though we did not know each other he was still part of my community on that plane. We were all on that plane and that journey together and nothing could be done about our touching shoulders.
Perhaps part of the spiritual issue for me were my expectations when boarding that plane. I was expecting to sleep, to be undisturbed. What if I had given up my right to expect this before I boarded? Maybe part of my frustration with forced community is that I expect to have my own space.
The next time you are thrust into close contact with people you don't know and your space is invaded, how will you respond? With frustration and even anger? Or a patient spirit and gentle smile?
God, help me to smile before boarding every plane in the future so that your spirit may flow through me.