The flights from San Francisco or Los Angeles to Tokyo are long. While the length is not as long as the Sydney leg or a Hong Kong trip, if one leaves California in the morning, it is one of the most difficult.
Recent experience reminds me that there are two reasons. First is the obvious one. I board the plane in the morning and I am not that tired. No matter how short the night before, my body is geared to being awake, pushing through, and getting things done. The idea of going to sleep at 9 am is foreign at best! Even though I know I have ten hours ahead of me, physically my body is telling me that there is something I should be doing. Even though I usually end up reading, sleep is difficult to find.
Second, I am going to be hungry. It may take an hour or two; I know in the end my stomach is going to be demanding that I eat something. Given the quality in the back of this airborne bus, I always find myself famished by the time I arrive. Somehow, two airlines meals and a light snack do not provide the amount of food that I am looking for.
On my most recent flight I found myself struggling to communicate that I needed something more. The candid assessment is that nobody serving me cared. Call buttons went unanswered. Direct questions ignored. I knew that my request would likely be fielded by individuals unable to provide a positive answer, but some answer, any answer would have been better than being ignored.
As I struggled with a sense of hunger that cannot be satisfied, I found myself thinking of those who had their fill. I imagine their arrogant words.
“If I get hungry, do you think I’d tell you? All creation and its bounty are mine. ” (Psalm 50.12)
Even as my thoughts of criticism form, I hear a cry for compassion and mercy. I turn, look in the mirror and see one who has had his fill.