I order my tall vanilla soy latté and begin wondering where my wallet is. I fumble through the pockets of the bag that hangs from my right shoulder and start feeling the panic rise to my cheeks.
Where’s my wallet? And passport and money? All the worst-case scenarios play out in fast forward speed. I am dizzied and feeling slightly faint.
Fumbling furiously now, I rummage through the books and computer chargers. I find my lipstick bag (one small sigh of relief – the lipstick is here) as the customers in front of me pay, then peal off the ever-shrinking line to get their drinks. They are not dummy-heads like me. They manage, like grown-ups do, to keep their wallet in sight.
The line is the only thing shrinking now. The panic has now fully seized my body. And I’m up next.
And it’s then I realize – suddenly – that my wallet is tucked under my left arm. Safe. Right there in my arm pit. I try sidling up to the cash register to play the cucumber cool part of seasoned business traveler, but it’s fairly obvious to anyone who has watched this extemporaneous scene that I am NOT.
I’m feeling jittery, the kind of jittery that makes you all clumsy.
I tried to figure out how to drape my winter coat over – around? – my carry-on. Unsuccesfully.
I tried to maneuver my one tall latte, one cup of ice water, and one yogurt parfait (with the carry-on and shoulder bag and winter coat) back to my gate. Unsuccessfully. (Ok, no spills but visible awkwardness.)
I am feeling the part of old woman whose husband has just died and can’t complete the simplest of tasks without the help on which she’d learned all her life to depend.
I’m alone. In an airport. Flying off to Wilmington, Delaware, to speak on the subject of joy.
And I’m feeling all turned inside out, wondering why did I agree to this?
It may have been years ago that I saw myself doing exactly this. But there’s something beautiful and right and yet hard about time as it marches forward – and erodes all those smug confidences of youth.
You know your own phoniness better when you’re older. You’re a fake, a fraud. The accumulated years: exhibit A.
So, yeah, I’m feeling jittery because it’s been a busy week and I’ve tried to pray and failed and wondered why God feels beyond the next closed door.
They’re boarding now.
I’m boarding now.
And that means a quick, hurried goodbye.
And the only thought with which to leave is this: “Conscious of all that I am not, confident of all that He is: and maybe that’s where real ministry begins.”