For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse. – Romans 1:20
Four billion people step onto commercial airliners globally each year. In the U.S. alone an average of 2 million passengers board some 30,000 flights every single day! The scale of it all is so incredible that American Airlines once saved $40,000 by removing one olive from every first class salad. True story. My part to play in this beast of a professional world is so absurdly minuscule that if I really tried hard to find out just where I stand at the center of it, the answer would probably still fly over my head with an epic whoosh! So it’ll be no surprise for you to hear that as one of the billions of little playing pieces in today’s booming travel industry I am forever being humbled by it all.
But probably not for the reasons you’re thinking … and I’d love to tell you my why.
Every day at work I get to meet upwards of 300 humans traveling to 70 different places for 300 different reasons, and I’m there to help deliver them all to their final destinations happy(ish), healthy(ish) and on time(ish).
Just try only being out for number one when you’re sealed in a tube with other peoples’ personalities, questions, concerns, dietary needs, complaints, parenting styles, personal hygiene levels, political opinions and senses of humor! It’s actually really hard! Well, not for them (obvi), but I’m the one whose presence on that airplane is to gain my paycheck, while in direct contrast, everyone else’s presence has been hard bought with their paycheck. So I get it. That being said though, at 30,000 ft I get a super surreal little front row [jump]seat to the lives of 300 strangers all aggressively living in the first person. It’s exhausting sometimes I’ll admit it, to be confronted by tunnel visioned people on independent missions, often quite passionate about how they feel their experience ought to go; but from that seat I am forever reminded that we all live in our own “first person” little worlds, we are all given the opportunity to experience God’s love in a radical, deep, one on one “first person” kind of way, and the incredible testimonies we all get to give come from that very specific and singular place. It’s trippy. Yeah, but for me it’s a serving of hot and steamy humble pie status on the daily.
As a flight attendant for a major airline I get to enjoy spending roughly half of all my time away from home on a magical aluminum flying bus with total rando’s, in line at the terminal C Chick-fil-a, falling into hundreds of hotel beds I don’t have to make the next morning, and roaming anonymously through new and unfamiliar cities around the world. It’s definitely one of the more unorthodox lifestyles I could have chosen straight out of school where the rough outline of my life looked more or less the same from first grade to my last semester of college: wake up around 6am, eat, school, friends, job, hobbies, eat, homework, bed. Now it’s more like: wake up between 2:30-10:30am, eat, fly to work, fly for work, meet people, serve others, take naps, explore, call family, bed.
(+ now, ridiculous amounts of time completely off the clock at home with my hubs and pups.)
So why, then?
Well, I was a 21 year old server at Texas Roadhouse in my third semester of community college, stalling out in my hometown, gorging myself on fresh baked rolls with honey cinnamon butter but starving for something to happen, and deeply offended that my parents didn’t consider and education in acting and filmmaking an investment to get stoked on. Shocker, no?
They’d help me finance a degree in something else, but you don’t understand, I wasn’t built for something else – this was what I was MADE to do!
SO I needed a meal ticket. And what’s more, I needed one that didn’t require a college degree with enough cash left on the side to stash for my neon light trajectory. What I found? Flight attending or Dental hygienistry … Prague or other people’s mouths …
My lil millennial heart went in the obvious glowing millennial direction.
After such a disappointing second act to high school I was desperately craving a launch into adventure and big city lights and insta-worthy selfie locales and food (SO. MUCH. FOOD.) And frankly, a taste of some soul-satisfying significance, please. If that wasn’t enough of a sell I was also totally convinced this job was going to make me like this rad, cooler, worldly, interesting and mysterious woman (a la Penny Lane at the end of Almost Famous when she finally buys her ticket to Morocco … but would also settle for Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen in any of their stuff from 1999-2003).
HAH! God said no. Actually what he probably said was “pipe down poser, I’m working.”
— Also the world has spoken and I’ll never be the girl who can pull off “rad”.
But he was working, on like this insane level. The new life I walked into literally overnight was not the epic, Cat Stevens singing in the background, totally pulling off urban-bohemian hats reality I had prepared my heart for, and I was NOT the Kate Hudson version of myself. Not even a little bit. I was Winona Ryder in every episode of Stranger Things.
My day to day life was bursting with actually cool people – not poser cool (*raises hand*), like busy, intriguing, cherry lipstick and high heel clad “how do they do it” kind of people – that came and went so fast my general interactions turned into a game of Please like me: Fast & Furious Edition. Between that speed-dating style friendship hunting, missed connections on the subway from Jamaica to Chelsea to Williamsburg to Coney freaking Island, and a steady pattern of coughing, sneezing and wheezing courtesy of lovely passengers who tote around germs like breath mints in their carryons … within a month my precious fragile 22 year old ego had taken a hit. Or twelve.
Overwhelmed and with no real comfort in reach I woke up thinking, “Well, you can’t just go back home so get out of bed and let’s do this again.”
And for lack of other real intimacy, I turned to God on a minute-by-minute basis for companionship.
Looking back at that intensely vulnerable season and all that’s followed, I can remember the sting, but now all I can see is this gritty radical, ridiculous masterclass in grace. I grew up in church and in ministry and truly loved God, but he had to kick my butt out of comfort or confidence to show me just how much I need him and want him.
This quick fix job on my way to a career that I know I would have abused with self indulgence God has FLOURISHED into a career of invisibility. I wanted to use a stage to glorify myself and God, and he was like, “actually here’s a job where your new name is “excuse me miss” and you’re going to serve that person in love who’s screaming at you because there’s weather in Chicago, but you’re also going to get a first class seat the the world I made …”
IT’S AWESOME, FRIENDS. IT’S STUPID AWESOME.
Don’t get it twisted! I can’t remember one single time embracing the hard has ever felt natural, and I probably would have picked an option B had one been available. Also, can I say waking up at 2am is unnatural and the freaking worst?
He’s a pushy one, that God and praise him for it because who else out there would happily lead a totally cozy snug life if you had anything to say about it? Me. I would have a desperate white-knuckled grip on that crap and my life would be SO BORING! I don’t want to do things I don’t have to do! But he’s too good for me, he’s too good to me and keeps sending me all over the world to see “his eternal power and divine nature” everywhere — in landscapes, in people, in small growth and big grace he is calling us to go out there to see him to behold his wonder and to chase it because once our eyes have even just caught a glimpse of the glory of His nature our whole bodies only get hungry for more, to ABIDE in his luscious goodness and wonder and let the radical sweetness of it just sit on top of our souls and marinate. And if that’s not a slice of humility you want for breakfast, lunch and dinner I don’t know what is!
He calls us to come find him, to see him. And he’s giving us no excuse.
So let’s go.
I would love to hear from you guys!
Go ahead and comment below, head over to the Reach Out page OR just email me at: Wonderwander120@gmail.com