On our way back from men’s retreat last Saturday I got a text from Vanda telling me to avoid Route 224. It’s a major road that goes through Boardman, OH. As we approached our house we witnessed a steady stream of traffic on the little side street our house is on. That’s unusual for our neck of the woods.
But, that wasn’t the only thing different that we saw as Dan Lewis pulled into my driveway to drop me off. Emma, my 13-year-old, had made a sign using our garbage can and some pizza boxes. It read, “Have a nice day.”
I wonder how many people saw that and smiled? Okay, there may have been a few who thought it was some sort of taunting. I mean, we all know people who get their knickers in a twist (as my wife would say) just sitting in the driver’s seat as evil powers emanate from the steering wheel. If I know my fellow Ohioans, it’s a safe bet that a majority of them appreciated her sentiment.
A couple whose wedding I’ll be performing later this year is going through premarital counseling with me. We’re using the book Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by Les and Leslie Parrott. In the book the authors share a story about a trip they had taken that involved a small plane. The pilot told them that the most important part of landing the plane was the plane’s attitude. No, that’s not a typo. He didn’t say altitude. He said attitude.
His point was about the position of the nose of the plane. If the nose it too high there will be a huge bounce. If it’s too low the plane could lose control. He summed it up by saying, “The trick is to get the right attitude in spite of atmospheric conditions.”
Everyone has to deal with unexpected conditions life brings our way – like losing a job, a detour in traffic patterns in our nightly commute or a family member with Alzheimer’s disease. But we do have a choice as to how we will react to them. Here’s what the Apostle Paul wrote while he was in prison:
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7, NLT)
Those were pretty bad atmospheric conditions, but Paul made the choice to put things in a godly perspective. You have the same choice.
I asked Emma why she put the sign up. She told me that the drivers must not have liked having their routes detoured unexpectedly. My teenager empathized with people and wanted to ease their pain. I think Jesus does the same thing with us every day. We just need the right attitude in order to receive it.