Thursday, December 23, 2010

Traveling with a VIP

In the early years of the Clinton administration I found myself booked on an all night flight from Santiago, Chile to Miami. 
Although there was a plane at the gate, our boarding was delayed so I asked the agent if there was some sort of problem. “Oh no,” she said, “It’s that we have a VIP traveling with us tonight.”

Eventually the boarding ritual got underway, and as I stepped onto the plane I recognized George Bush, the former President of the United States, already seated in the plane’s first class cabin.

Feeling a little bit of a rush at being so near someone so famous I was actually conscious of how nonchalantly I walked to my seat – only six feet from the former leader of the free world.  I settled in and began to watch as all the other passengers filed by.  Some, like me chose the nonchalant approach – hoping to project this as no big deal, and trying to respect his privacy.  Others, however, took much different approaches as they encountered the president.

Common to all was that silent buzz – the sort of excited whisper that sweeps through a room when everyone is suddenly very alert to the fact that someone special or famous is near by. Have you ever noticed how some of us feel a need to connect with that special person? Some asked for an autograph, some shook his hand and said hello, some didn’t even know who he was.

Others wanted to connect in even deeper ways. One man chatted with the president and then gave him a business card, like there would be some need for a follow up visit or phone call. Another said, “You don’t know me, but my Aunt Sue met your wife one time.” One by one as they passed by, I was fascinated to watch how each person nervously played out their own need to connect or relate to Mr. Bush. I wonder what it would have been like if an old friend of the president had boarded the flight. Would that exchange have been different from all the rest?

Last night, as many of us do at Christmas time, I was thinking about Jesus coming to this world. And for some strange reason I wondered what it would be like if He were seated on an airplane as we all boarded. What sort of buzz would that create? Would some pretend it was no big deal? Would some say, “You don’t know me – but I believe you’ve met my Aunt Sue.” Would some not even know who He was?

Or, what if we stepped on board and recognized a good friend who met us with a warm greeting – and then we simply settled in for the flight, ready to talk and enjoy each other’s company? I think this is a good time of year for each of us to look at just how we would react to the VIP traveling with us tonight.


abider said...

Ron: Great post. How often do we acknowledge THE VIP of all creation. He is in our midst constantly desiring interaction with us.
It is rude not to acknowledge His constant presence.


Krista said...

Just awesome! Helps keep the focus during a time that is so busily filled with other things that should be taking a back seat to honoring the King of Kings!

gary said...

Ron; great stuff. It sure makes me wonder how I would react. The only thing is; I believe Jesus would have been in the coach section of the plane and not in 1st class. Blessings.