Think It Over

I was so tickled with myself. I was prowling the upper deck near Nordstrom’s looking for a parking place when all of a sudden I saw some back-up lights coming on so I whipped myself into position and aced out another car. After I was safely in my space, I noticed it was a lady and I felt a twinge of guilt because of my upbringing.

As a youngster we often rode public transportation and my dad instilled in me to give my seat up to anyone of the opposite gender. This stuck with me through my first year at Biola when I had to work at The Sears and Roebuck mail order house in order to pay my way through school. I worked from one o’clock to five o’clock and was on my feet the entire time except for a short break. I then had to walk to the bus stop and catch a bus to the Salvation Army gymnasium where we practiced basketball. No matter how tired I was, if a lady was standing and I was seated, I would offer her my seat.

I suppose that is why I had a twinge of guilt when I had aced this lady out of a parking space. To assuage my guilt, I tried to rationalize it in several different ways. First I thought, well, I am doing her a favor because she is a bit overweight and she needs the exercise. Secondly, this isn’t like the bus where you can just stand up and keep moving toward your destination. You can’t give up the space and then stand in the aisle. You keep moving nowhere. Third, I might be reprimanded like I did one time in the sixties when I held a door open for a businesswoman and received a sharp retort, “I can open the door myself.”

As I reflected on that early upbringing I thought, “What has changed.” Not only rushing for parking spaces, but I like to get at the head of the line in boarding a plane so I can get some bin space. However, I read in the paper the other day that it is the people at the head of the line who get pulled aside for secondary screening. The FAA is changing the rule at some airports as, to me, it didn’t really make sense. They search you with a fine toothcomb early on. My shoes, belt, watch, and pen have all gone through the x-ray machine.

They open your suitcase and go through everything. There is absolutely no way I would let a stranger into my house to go through my medicine cabinet even though I have heard a guest open it on occasion. But at the airport it is part of their duty. What do I care if somebody sees acne medicine for someone my age, or ointment for toenail fungus. I will never see them again, so why should I really care. Then, after all this, I go through the metal detector and it still beeps.

One time I beeped and the person wanding me said, “What do you have in your pocket?” I said, “Nothing.” He said, “Empty it.” So I reached in my pocket to turn it inside out and show him it was empty and there was one Dristan pill, but it had a 1/4 inch tinfoil wrapping on the back that made the wand beep He said, “OK, you were lying.” Anyway, so I am now torn between getting to the head of the line and avoiding having to go through a secondary screening so that the screeners can fill their quota up early on that flight.

As I reflect on these experiences I think about John ‘s word in Revelation 2:4 where he tells the Ephesians that they have left their first love. I wonder how many behaviors in my life are different because I have left my first love. I remember the wonder of salvation and the joy of witnessing and the delight in reading and memorizing the Word of God. The marvel of seeing specific prayers answered, and the thousand other excitements in my walk with the Lord. Have I become hardened to these gifts of God because of familiarity just like I became inured to putting others first. Do I try to ace God out of His place in my life?

Lord, help me to examine myself so that I do not leave my first love, and as I continue to grow older to think less of serving myself and more of serving others.