Early Morning Humility

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Just recently I had an early morning flight from San Diego to the east coast. For some reason I figured that because my flight was at 6am, the security line would be short and I breeze right through. I don’t know why I assumed this but I did and was wrong!  The line was long and I immediately felt anxious and began to worry that I would not make my flight. I tend to stress about flying anyway; whom will I sit next to? Will my flight be on time? And so on.

So my anxiety and stress level is building. I am looking for a way to get close to the front of the line. A woman just in front of me must have felt my ‘vibe’ and suggested that I try and calm down, that we all had to be patient and that I should ‘try and relax’. The woman was really trying to be helpful. I know the difference between a snide remark and a kind gesture.

This was an act of kindness and I wanted to crush it. I immediately got defensive and shot back at her, “don’t tell me how I should be!” Of course it took two seconds for me to feel awful. Horrible! I thought to myself “Jerry, I can’t believe you just reacted that way. The poor woman was just trying to be nice. And, besides which, you’ve said similar things to others in order to try and be helpful.”

About a minute or two later (seemed like an eternity) I tried to start a conversation with the woman. ‘So, where are you travelling to?’ I said, choking on a good bite of humble pie. She was kind enough to tell me she was going to visit her daughter at college, she was a working single mother, and this was a very special trip.

I needed to apologize for my bad behavior and it didn’t matter that I was anxious about missing my flight, I was tired and cranky from getting up at 4am and  that I didn’t know this woman and would probably never see her again.

Thankfully the line was starting to move now and I was feeling a little relieved.  But now it was time for me to really ‘humble up’! “I’m sorry for the way I reacted, I’m just feeling a little stressed this morning”. ‘That’s okay’ she said, ‘you’re doing good!’ ‘

We chatted a little more as we were making our way to the x-ray machine when she finally asked, ‘so, what do you do for a living?’ I’m sure I turned red immediately, with ‘you know what kind of grin’ on my face. “I’m a motivational speaker, I said, ‘and I’m so embarrassed about the way I reacted to what you said!”

‘That’s okay’ you’re doing good’, she reminded me. Yes’, I thought, ‘I am doing good, I am getting support from a perfect stranger in the security line at 5:30 in the morning, in spite of my bad behavior’!

I’m not always gracious and helpful like I’d like to be, especially when I’m a cranky four year old,  but I did make amends.  Sometimes that’s the best we can do and I did just that.

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