In the last month, I’ve spent 76 hours on planes. And I’m not exaggerating. I actually added it up just now. Those hours do not include the time sitting on the ground in airplanes or waiting in airports or traveling to and from airports. Those almost “two full work weeks” of hours are strictly in-the-air flying time. Makes me tired all over again just thinking about it.

On this last trip though, I discovered there’s a BIG difference between economy and business class. But before I tell you about that, let me set the stage.

I was invited to speak at a women’s retreat for a church in Stavanger, Norway. I invited my friend Lisa to accompany me. Lisa also led a workshop at the retreat and really blessed the ladies there! Both of us enjoyed our time with the ladies there so much. (Thank you North Sea Baptist Church!)

North Sea Baptist Church Retreat

Me and Lisa with Kelly and Joy from North Sea Baptist Church, Norway

The Norway trip came 5 days after a mission trip to Bangladesh and I was a little road weary before we even started this new journey. Lisa and I flew from Houston straight to London on the first leg of our trip. Soon after we boarded the British Airways plane and found our seats we began to notice things. For instance, we were offered water or juice while the plane was still boarding. When the really nice dinner came we had real glass, real utensils, and cloth napkins. None of this plastic or paper stuff. And we had a lot of leg room.

Unfortunately, we were practically over the UK before we realized that not everyone on the plane had it so nice. For about 9 hours we had been saying a lot of really nice things about British Airways. We completely missed the fact that hundreds of people in the section behind us had been suffering through leg cramps, plastic utensils, and less seat space. We didn’t even get to enjoy our “privileged position.”

North Sea

Me and Lisa in a strong North Sea wind!

Then the time came to head home. We went online and tried to snag seats again in Business Class without paying extra, but no luck. (We still have no idea how it happened going over.) During our entire 5-hour layover in London we complained to each other. “Ugh! We have to suffer through the long flight in economy.” “It wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t know how the other half flew.” And so it went…

Then our group was called to board. Lisa handed her boarding pass to the agent on the left and I handed mine to the one on the right. Lefty said to Lisa: “Ma’am you’ve been upgraded.” As I was taking a breath to say “What?!”, Lisa selflessly told Lefty she was traveling with a friend. Lefty quickly responded, “Oh, she’s been upgraded too.”

We practically skipped down the jet way in anticipation of what lay ahead. Glorious leg room. Smaller, curtained-off section that kept the noise down. Almost personal attention from a flight attendant. Better food. Water before take-off. (I even had my own water bottle, but still, the lowly economy section didn’t get this.)

Lisa and I giggled like school girls as we settled into our spacious seats. We sipped our water and watched the poor economy passengers file by to their cramped quarters. We felt a little guilty. We had done absolutely nothing to get the nicer seats. We certainly didn’t deserve it. But we were thankful. When we blessed our beef tenderloin later, we would be certain to voice our gratitude to God.

Then I caught a glimpse of First Class. Their seats literally made into beds. They had this little cubicle surrounding their seat that gave them a lot of privacy. “Hmmm. I wonder what it would take to get in there.”

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the more you have the more you want? Or that “getting” sometimes fosters discontent? What are some ways we can practice and foster an ongoing attitude of gratitude?







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