This morning I headed out early for the first leg of my trip: the Houston leg, with three days at the conference for the World Community for Christian Meditation. Houston is hot, and I met the most interesting taxi driver on the way from the airport to the University of St. Thomas. His family emigrated from Iran when he was two, and his dad, a geologist, brought the family to Houston to work for the oil industry. He was raised Muslim, but his family didn’t really practice the faith. So, in 1981, as he said, he converted to Christianity and has been at the Lakewood Church ever since. I got his number to call him for the trip back to the airport on Sunday morning.
I don’t want to say that I go looking for signs from God when I go on trips—or just go through my day. Not everything I experience has been sent as a message from the Divine. Sometimes a sandwich really is a sandwich. But, I would say that I try to keep my heart open to be ready for any glimpses that may come my way. Any gifts that show up. Any insights or, dare I say, lessons I need to learn. I guess you could say that I don’t anticipate the gift, but I do anticipate that the gift is possible. That seems to make all the difference to me. It’s a posture of having my heart open…a willingness.
So, this morning, after Cynthia dropped me off at the North Springs station and I made my way to the airport to catch my flight from Houston, I found myself in the typical routines: check in, TSA screening, getting lost, finding my gate. I decided to grab a banana from a coffee shop to take on the plane. I don’t go anywhere without a banana—or so goes the running joke with my colleagues at Grace Church. As I stood there to check out, I noticed they had a movie projecting on the opposite wall. It was that old 1981 version of Clash of the Titans. Seriously. You know the one, where Perseus has his journey—his quest. There on the wall was Perseus standing in front of a delightful clay-mation gargoyle trapped in a cage. There was no sound on, but I could see him talking with an older man—a guide and teacher—about what lay in store for him as he headed out on this journey. I imagined the older guide offering pieces of advice, lessons learned from his own life, encouragement.
Seriously, though, how strange that THIS was the movie projected on the wall there at the coffee shop on the T-concourse at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. In 2017. Clash of the Titans, with Perseus being guided on his quest by an older mentor who was helping him see what was possible. What lay in store for him.
I get the message. Here we go.
Tonight is the first session of the conference “Praying with the Masters Today” with Bernard McGinn, from the University of Chicago, as we explore the mystical tradition within Christianity.