Day 71 Missionary Travel

The glamour of travel may be forever gone.   Comfortable and enhancing journeys from one place to another are rare and prohibitively expensive.  We are now crammed into the smallest of spaces with the bare minimum of options.   Recently while squeezing myself into a penitential sized seat on the tinniest passenger aircraft in all Christendom, I was scolded by a fellow passenger for pausing to extract a book from my pack before placing the bag in the overhead compartment.  An action that took me precisely fifteen seconds was apparently enough to aggravate this stranger into verbal antagonism.   I suppose I should let it go in light of the fact that everyone traveling these days is stressed and on edge.  Security lines, automated bag checks, tart travel personnel who spend their days answering the same tedious questions, all create an environment of tension and frustration exacerbated by endless delays before ascending into the sky within the confines of a floating prison.

Little courtesies surprisingly stand out in this hostile travel world.  Allowing someone ahead of you in line, offering a smile to the gate checker, returning a greeting with eye contact are a shaft of sunlight on a dark and wretched day.  It feels a bit like being a missionary descending into a dangerous and unpredictable environment offering hope and courage where there is fear and despair.   Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed about my work and the seemingly infinite responsibilities of ministry, I remind myself my most important task is to offer kindness in whatever moment I find myself.  In the sky or a traffic jam, in the market or in a mad rush – stop – breathe – practice patience . . . and miraculously the sun comes out.

This entry was posted in Catholic, God, Jesus, Peace, Prayer, Spirituality, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Day 71 Missionary Travel

  1. Sue H says:

    A great reminder, Fr. Matt! Thanks!

  2. Your observations are sadly accurate yet all the more reason to be the change we want to see. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Helen Segletes says:

    Your observations are sadly accurate yet all the more reason to be the change we want to see. Thank you for the reminder, Fr. Matt.

  4. jimbocando says:

    Should have worn your collar. LOL

  5. Wm 'Gus' Gocella says:

    “Fear not for I am with you all days…….” is how I begin my travel by air, not because I fear flying or what happens during, but I need the patience, courage and steadfastness to finish the mission for today. I call on ‘another power’ to give me the attributes, once again. Although my mission twice or three times a year is flying WW II and Korean War Veterans who are amputees, with feeding tubes, needing oxygen, or have incontinent problems to Washington DC and the Memorials built in their honor. it is most challenging yet so rewarding. To ‘stop’ while you are getting seated and a line behind you waiting to ‘get it on’, getting a book or placing your jacket or hat in the overhead is not so unusual, when the passengers mostly are 87 years young. They have the patience of Job and do not say a word while their Brothers are being seated in this slow but so important boarding.
    Once back home after boarding and de-boarding the same day, we realize what was accomplished today on this ‘mission’ and like He who made this earth, it is good! I thank Him every time and tell Him in my own way, “bring in on one more time!” So Father, we must be patient and request same from fellow passengers, there is hope.

  6. mcct says:

    Move to the South!

  7. Joanna Haston says:

    OK, MP, this is almost too depressing. Understood, but think of the places you’re going, the people you’ll see, the tastes you’ll savor, the joy you will discover, the new things you will learn.. Keep smiling at and surprising people. Think of the confetti!

  8. mcct says:

    P.S. In the South, we would take the book from your backpack and then read it aloud to you so as to not inconvenience you with the work of pouring over the words on the page AND having to actually hold the book. Fiddle de dee!

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