Elite travel status and first-world problems

Alex arrived to drive me to the airport at four a.m. so I could make it in time for my 6:50 flight. We had become friends over the past week and I saw in him a hard-working man who had set his professional dreams aside to provide for his wife and five children, working nearly 80 hours a week driving a cab. As we headed to the airport, he pulled over to stop at a small store to buy me some local candy to bring home. “You must try this,” he said. “It’s the best.”

Six days earlier, my host had hired Alex to drive me around the city and show me the famous sites. We had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe. “It’s been a long time since I was here last,” he said while enjoying his lunch. He made a similar comment later that evening when we stopped at Starbucks for coffee. (This day was only my second time at Hard Rock, but I frequent Starbucks almost daily.)

That week I had visited a number of people who survived on very little, including one man who recently escaped his country because of religious persecution. Probably my most powerful times were visiting a state orphanage and meeting people involved in orphan work in that country. This is a country where 30 percent of the current orphans will never be adopted and, into early adulthood, 80 percent the unadopted will end up living on the streets or in prison.

Meeting people who think and live differently challenges me to think about my life back home. My family and I are pretty frugal (by U.S. standards), but a lot of things consume me that in the big picture of life aren’t really important. Meeting Alex and others reminded me that I am often busy with things that don’t really matter. Oswald Chambers said, “The busyness of things obscures our concentration on God. . . . Never let a hurried lifestyle disturb the relationship of abiding in Him.” I was about to step back into a lifestyle that constantly competes against a life of abiding. Could I choose to live more simply? Would I choose to live more simply?

As Alex and I walked into the airport, I was mentally preparing myself for a long trip home to see my wife and daughters. Hopefully I could catch some rest during the flights. A lot of this depends, of course, on which seats you get on the plane. As the ticket agent gave me my boarding passes I was visibly pleased that my new “elite” status would allow me the privilege of boarding early on an airline I didn’t usually fly. “What’s so great?” Alex asked. “Good seats,” I murmured, quickly realizing how trivial the idea of elite travel status really was. “Maybe I’ll go to Starbucks a little less when I get home,” I thought.

Look for my weekly blog on Tuesdays and Fridays. You can find it on facebook, Twitter @croso1, at crosoblog.com or have a copy sent directly to your email. Calvin G. Roso © March 2014

Published by Calvin G. Roso

Christ-follower, husband, father, educator, and story-teller.

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