Flight 2448

This past month I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Europe with my family. Our European holiday was a delightful adventure filled with cobblestone streets, massive cathedrals, captivating art, and leisurely lunches al fresco. As our trip came to a close, I was ready to return home and re-engage with the productivity of work.

I settled in my seat and clicked my belt. My final flight until I would be home, jetlagged and a little disoriented, the hour and a half trip couldn’t pass quick enough. Our flight had been delayed already and passengers were anxious to get in the air…and then it came, the dreaded announcement over the speaker, “this is your captain speaking we are delayed due to in climate weather. The airport is shut down currently, no flights going out or coming in.” So we waited.

6 hours later, we were still waiting.

At first it appeared to be the best social experiment or Punk’d prank, I kept thinking to myself “all I can do is laugh.” The captain would tell the flight attendants to prepare for departure, we’d all buckle up and get settled, and 3 minutes later the captain would announce that we were preparing for arrival and not departing. This happened about 7 times.

So imagine, 6 hours later with 200 plus tired, hungry, frustrated passengers – most had abandoned their filters and all of us lost our emotional regulation to a degree. There was crying, yelling, and a hotbed of rudeness.

After I disembarked the plane, I made a b-line to try and find accommodations for my ragged, jetlagged self. I chatted cordially with two women as I waited in line at the customer service desk, we empathized with each other over the evening’s events and discussed our hope of arriving at our final destinations. One woman was pushing the other in a wheelchair and I made the assumption that the women were mother and daughter. I was corrected by the older woman in the wheelchair, “oh no, this…is my angel. I am traveling alone and the two of us happen to sit across the aisle. She’s trying to get us a hotel room and has been so helpful.” With tears in her eyes the elder woman finished, “I don’t know what I would have done without her. She’s my angel.”

In the past month the heaviness and reality of life has made itself known in the lives of many of my friends: unexpected illnesses, mental health crises, death, divorce, addiction, and the list continues. And everyone is vehemently sharing their opinions on social media about decisions being made by our government. Isis is threatening our country and the lives of my brothers and sisters. Our world feels bleak, just look at your social media.

We truly live in a fallen world – something that has been historically stated since the beginning of sin. Every generation consistently seems to think that their time in history is the worst the world has seen. This consistency yields a spirit unrest, fear, and ambiguity in each generation.

We serve a consistent and sovereign God, unchanged across generations. What I love about our faithful God is that he blesses his people with glimmers of hope, the gift of his character revealed among the bitterness of life. Like the angel on flight 2448.

Us and Them

Us and them

“men are like chocolates…wait too long and only the weird, nutty ones are left”

Hand towels with quips and quotes like these line the towel racks of the bathrooms in my parents’ home. I always leave one of the bathrooms chuckling or smirking at the cunning little sayings, they’re funny and I love them…in fact I may have helped pick out a few.

But back to the men are like chocolates thing… I was at home for a significant amount of time this past year and this saying caught me after awhile, and honestly I’m beginning to believe it’s really true. Sometimes it feels like I live in this world sandwiched between those navigating life’s milestones well and oddballs…or am I becoming the weird nutty one?

I’m a single, twenty-something post grad adult. I have a solid job and work hard… where do I belong? Where is my place in the church? I’m not newly married, or even engaged, so young married group doesn’t fit. I’m not in college anymore…in fact, I have my Masters and use it in my job to discipline, counsel, and mentor college students….I can confidently say, I’m in a different place…so where do I fit?

Where does any single, post-grad, twenty or thirty-something fit in the church? I am finding in more and more conversations with friends that their church feels like the loneliest part of their life. It’s exacerbated by this “us and them” mentality that is apparently woven through our Christian culture. Don’t get me wrong…single adults do it too…we allow the “us and them” ideology to continue. And I accept that there are certainly pieces of life that I won’t understand until I am married or having children of my own, but that does not make me less of an adult or human. It sounds ridiculous to type, but believe it or not, this is the message being sent to single adults: “You are not fully an adult, you are not mature, you are not welcome until you’re married.”

Single or married, it takes courage to walk in this world as a believer…and I don’t know about you, but I would rather do it in community, a community known as the Church.

Life constantly separates us into categories, but I do believe there is a time and a place for “women’s, men’s, children’s, youth, newly married, young family, hill-toppers, etc.” ministry as we can identify with those navigating similar seasons and circumstances. I respect that, but are we not the body — a whole body that was designed to be united?

No community is perfect; however, my church in Los Angeles did a fantastic job with this – community groups were based on location and open to the family. I found that it encouraged me to live daily life in community God had provided.

This may feel more like a rant than a well-thought out composition because it really is a topic that weighs heavy on my life and holds significant relevance. This relevance crosses state lines and is a pervasive topic among my peers. All humans have a deep desire for community: to be known and do life together. There is not clear delineation of ownership and responsibilities for the “us and them’s” because the entire body needs to take ownership and action.

What will you do?