After finishing 8 days of intense learning, engagement in true multi-faith relationships and conversation, AND a service project here in Denver [Trac5], I got up bright and early to get to the airport to pick up a car for my next adventure. A road trip into the Rockies and maybe Canyons of Utah with my camera in hand. What could be better? I caught a ride with another team member leaving early, working all the angles perfectly. Or so I thought. LoL.
I was short on sleep but was thankful to my new friend, Mark Casey, who took me to the airport with Amber, after serving us so well this week at the leadership conference. We got to the airport and I immediately grabbed the shuttle to the car pick-up place about a mile from the Denver airport terminal. I’m collapsing the time-line here. Maybe 30 minutes later I proudly pulled out my phone with the reservation number in an email. You know, I’m trying to cut down on paper consumption. Yea right. Perhaps I should stop buying books.
So why do I feel stupid, and American today? “We need your license and visa card, Sir.” You bet. Sure thing. I’m standing, getting pumped to hit the road, enjoy my independence and picture taking in these enchanted Rockies and beyond. The guy behind the desk is entering data, my address, etc. More small talk followed like, “how’s your day,” and so forth. This is my upbeat optimism when I’m in control, experiencing my freedom and independence. I’m feeling the open road in front of me after all.
“Sir, I have bad news!” The computer won’t let me go any further because your driver’s license is expired!” You know the look of a deer caught in the headlights, mixed with a sense of “Oh S***?” Actually my thoughts were more numb, less OS. Clearly, that upbeat optimism I had just a few seconds before disappeared, betraying my shallow sense of well being. My ride to the airport was not waiting for me. Why would they? I had everything under control. I’m laughing now. I had no license. The hotel was 40 minutes away by car. Who knows by bus or whatever other means of transportation were available. Big bummer. Now laughing harder. Not then, in front of the attendant on the other side of the counter this morning. But YES, I’m laughing now.
When I think of the many ways people are really vulnerable in the world, even in Denver tonight as I write these thoughts, I’m ashamed at how easily I can feel discomfort. My stupid mistake today was so trivial really. My friends from Libya [and now IN Libya] are living real challenges. My prayer tonight: “God, help me to be more mindful of my false sense of self-sufficiency and of those who truly need what I have to give!”
Btw, the picture above is from Estes Park. I had to take a few pictures with my arms in the air at the request of a good friend. That makes at least a few times in the last few days I’ve felt stupid. The picture below includes some of my new friends from this week’s summit. We took a day to breath the rarefied air together in the Rockies above Denver.