16 hours on a plane…surrounded by strangers, lack of good A/C, movies that can only alleviate boredom and restlessness for a limited amount of time, dealing with turbulence, annoying seat-neighbors, all in a metal cylinder with wings, soaring at 36,000 feet above the ground…it can be stressful, sometimes. One of my tricks for flying is, as soon as we’re wheels-up, to set my mind ahead to whatever I’m going to be doing wherever I’m headed. So, if I would be awake and working on something in that next timezone, then I stay awake and work on things or read on the flight. If it’s time to sleep where I’m headed, I try to rest as much as I can in my seat. However, this particular long-haul from Abu Dhabi to Dallas, sleep simply wasn’t coming. I knew it was not going to be a good time.
One of the hardest, if not the hardest part of a trip, is getting back in the mindset of “normal life.” You’ve had this spiritual high, of sorts, and then you have to get back into the normal routines of life as you know it. Dealing with jet-lag has never really been an issue for me, until I can’t sleep on a flight because of muggy cabin temperature and small children being allowed to run up and down the aisles, smacking my shoulders every time they pass (not to mention the flight attendants bashing said shoulder when they pass with their cart). As I write this, the elements of this travel discomfort have finally ebbed completely (I hope). Only five days after getting back home!
But, getting back into the rhythms of everyday life are so key for life. The routines of waking up to have good coffee and study time before hugging my kids as they come into the den, bleary-eyed and looking for breakfast. The basics of having time with my wife to talk through pieces of the day and our schedules. Even those midnight hours, having to wake up to change diapers and give another drink of water, cleaning up a bathroom accident or chasing away a nightmare. All of these things are life, are acts of worship and service, are beautiful moments that can be marred by selfishness and a desire for my own rest and comfort.
So, in confession – I hate the first few days back in the saddle, as my selfishness comes to the forefront of everything and I struggle with the moving back and forth between the mindsets of “Kyle” and “Roused-from-hibernation Grizzly.” Not fun, for anyone.
Praise God for his grace and forgiveness, and for the patience of loved ones.