I am not a huge fan of flying. It is not leaving the ground in a giant machine and flying with metal wings that bother me. It is arriving far before my flight will leave, giving my luggage to a stranger and watching it be thrown on a belt, paying $5.00 for a diet soda and then being herded into a smelly tight fitting area with nothing to do but be stared at by strangers for two long hours. I always grumble under my breath sitting in the uncomfortable chair while I wait and think of all else I could be doing with that time. I guess you could say I have never been a big fan of the Departure Lounge….until now!
Why the change of heart? As you may recall, last month I attended a United Methodist Women’s Retreat with my sister-in-law, and that is where I met Nel McChristie. Ms. McChristie, at 85 years young, was another attendee at the retreat. She had come all the way from Canada to Georgia to attend the retreat with her lovely daughter-in-law. As we all went around the table and told about ourselves, I knew before she spoke that whatever Ms. McChristie said would be worth hearing!
Ms. McChristie told us how she gets up each day of the week and does yoga with her friends before sitting together and communing over muffins and coffee. Ms. McChristie told us she does not worry of the sugar in the muffins, because she had just done all of that yoga!
Ms. McChristie told of the importance of gratitude. She said that we must start each day with gratitude. What matters the most in life is being grateful! As long as we are grateful for what God has given us, we will have happy lives!
Then Ms. McChristie told us something I found shocking. She said, “I know I am in the Departure Lounge and I love it!” I knew she was not in any departure lounge I have been in; however, witnessing the happiness on her face and peace in her heart, I immediately wanted to go to this Departure Lunge one day too! Can you imagine a place where you have the wisdom of years, the gratitude of an open heart, the blessing of friends and family AND CAKE?
I have thought of the Departure Lounge every day since that retreat. I have conjured what it must be like there in that Lounge and what I can do to make the Departure Lounge a little more comfortable for those waiting. What a world it would be if we all thought the way Ms. McChristie does. We should all wake up every morning and celebrate all we are thankful for.
For those of us not quite in the Departure Lounge yet, instead of complaining (as I often to do in my uncomfortable little seat) we should contemplate what we can do to make the Departure Lounge a little more comfortable for the people waiting inside it, because by the grace of God we will get to sit in those seats one day too!