Sermon for 21st October 2012
Like this sermon, we often find ourselves late in various circumstances. Maybe we are late to a meeting, to work or class, or the ever-stressful situations that are entirely beyond our control that make us late. And these are the ones that cause the most grief.
This past week, I have been traveling abroad in Ireland--thus the lateness in this sermon submission, a thousand apologies to all--and found myself frustrated beyond belief with how the airlines ran between Great Britain and Ireland. It's not a far hop--less than an hour between take-off and landing--and yet everything that was beyond my control seemed to go wrong.
First, when my flight was supposed to be airborn at 5pm, not a single announcement was made about boarding until a quarter past, when the airline informed us that the plane had been delayed. This continued throughout my journey, including extreme delays in departure, delays in boarding the plane due to unclear reasons, and then other aspects like an open toolbox being left on one of the passengers' seats by the flight attendents. (Who does that?)
Meanwhile, I am finding myself uncharacteristically irritated by these factors outside my control. I was bristling with frustration as problem after problem arose and the airline's complete ignorance that its passengers were becoming more and more restless.
But allowing irritation to take over didn't speed up the process or make me feel better. It didn't change anything except to make me feel crappy during parts of my holiday.
I could have used that time to get to know my travel partner better, or write an entry in my journal, or try some moving meditation. There is so much I could have done instead of fume, and I didn't. Thus, I suffered much more than necessary.
Pain is inevitable; we will all experience something painful in our lives, perhaps repeatedly. But how we react to it makes all the difference in the world. Suffering is optional if you put your mind to it. Enjoy every moment of life, even when it appears to genuinely suck. There is probably a gem hidden beneath all the rubble.