Another life lesson. You would think that at my age I would have learned this one, but as of late, the Lord is continuing to help me reign it in, or should I say, bite it. No, I’m not talking about my little pony. I am referring to my big fat tongue.
James 3:2 says we all make many mistakes and if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. Tall order, right? A very tall order for me sense I am out of control in so many ways.
Recently, my wife and I set out on our annual trek to Washington D.C. for the National Prayer Breakfast. One would think that someone with such spiritual interest would walk with some level of dignity, poise and uprightness. One would think. But we forgot. Let me explain.
It is fair to say that 3:45 a.m. comes early even for those who get the worm on a regular basis. The mind is just not the sharpest before the sun comes up. This morning was no different. Nonetheless, we did our best to gather our senses and stumble through our otherwise daily routines.
Amazingly, we were right on time. I even made each of us a cup of coffee for the open road to that airway in the sky. About halfway down the highway my wife had a revelation. She had left her phone at home! What? Left her phone? How could this be? Despite the incredible urge to provide color commentary, I took a station break. I controlled my tongue! Besides, I had a tinge of empathy. What modern human could last five minutes without an electronic pacifier, let alone go a whole week without a peek or two at a flat screen?
At the next exit we whipped a u-turn and I put the hammer down. Thankfully, local law enforcement was checking on inventory at the corner donut shop as I rounded the intersection on two wheels. I rushed through our garage knocking down an array of handy-man necessities, leaped over the couch and pounced on her phone nestled quietly under a few of her favorite items from the makeup counter.
Like a pilot in a fighter jet, I jumped back in the cockpit, secured my seat, fired the after burners and propelled us back toward the interstate. We still had time so long as the friendly peace officers asked for a second cup of joe.
As we approached the on ramp, at near mach speed, it hit me like a punch in the gut. She had forgotten her phone but I had also left my travel bag sitting in the breeze way! What in the world is going on? I pumped the brakes. No, I locked them up! I looked in the rear view mirror and drove backwards out the on ramp. Oh yes I did! I shouldn’t have but we were desperate and my wife was more than white knuckled. She was about to pass out from the g-forces.
We two-wheeled back through the intersection. I leaped over the fallen tools in the garage, slid into the breeze way and hurdled dogs, laundry and kitchen counters to gain back seconds I knew mattered. Wind blown and traumatized, I greeted my copilot with a grin and we were off again!
I confess it was more than wrong but I sped through our neighborhood like the mouse in Nitendo’s Mario Cart. Impressive I might add. Had this been the actual video game I would have been way out ahead of the pack picking up a ton of bonus points along the way.
It would be a nail biter. But if we hit every green light, we could still make it on time. Let’s just say a few of those lights were on the amber side as we blew through. How exciting, no traffic accidents and no traffics tickets. No tickets? Wait. No tickets? Surely not. We grabbed the airplane tickets, right? Small panic but huge relief. We got this one right!
Once at cruising altitude my instrument panel gave a surprise greeting. Low fuel! Not no fuel but low fuel. I asked my copilot how far the navigation system, on her now handy cell phone, indicated it was to the airport. “Nine miles,” came the reply. With the confidence of a duck on water, I replied, “We should have just enough.”
With no time to spare and our fuel tank near zero we landed, yes I said landed, at the airport. I pumped the brakes. Slammed the vehicle in park and threw my wife and luggage to the curb. Trust me, she was grateful!
As I did a donut of my on in the airport parking lot I couldn’t help but smile and be just a little bit proud. We had not only arrived on time, we arrived in one piece without a cross word between us.
Lesson learned? The jury is hung on that one. Time will tell but I think I’m heading in the right direction even if I may have forgotten a thing or two.
I had been focusing on the later part of the verse from the book of James. If I could control my tongue I could control anything. Perhaps the key to achieving this character quality is in the first part of the passage. When we recognize we all make mistakes, holding our tongues becomes a little easier, mercy comes a whole lot easier and like cops prone to preoccupation, we are extended an extra measure of grace!
Did I mention that after boarding the plane the captain made an announcement that our flight would be delayed. We couldn’t help but smile. After all we had been through, biting our tongues and extending a little mercy and grace came natural. I have to admit that it entered my mind that if I the captain should need suggestions on how to make up some time, I had an idea or two. Besides, after all I had been through, I had earned my wings! It was time to fly!