Typical American

Three out of four days.  No hot water.

I’m in a hotel this week – and three of the four days, the solution coming from the front desk to my dilemma?  ‘Let the water run for 20 – 30 minutes – that should heat it up.’  Really?  (By the way, it didn’t.)

So this morning, I am short on grace & patience….and I feel totally justified.

As I descend to the lobby and ask for a window table so I can watch the weather rolling in, the host acts almost as if he won’t comply with my request because I am only one – and the window tables seat four.  But he relents.  And I am slightly annoyed.

I graze at the breakfast buffet.  I sit.  I stare out the window I fought so hard to get and add to this mental list my complaints about the horrible coffee and wrestle with whether or not I want to leave this guy a tip since he hasn’t even refilled my water glass.

I finish my meal.  My guilt-complex left the tip.  I grabbed my laptop and headed out poolside to get some writing done.  Crap.  Someone was sitting in the chair I wanted….and smoking, no less.  I trek across the pool deck to lounge under some trees.  The internet connection is too weak to reach me.  What kind of roach motel is this??  (Hyatt, by the way – not a shabby shack.)  And of course, then it begins to rain.  I grab my laptop, make the ‘expedition’ back to the covered patio.  Alas, ‘my’ chair is available.  Finally, I sit down to relax – shaded from the weather and ready to work.  Good grief!  When was the last time someone dumped this ash tray??  There’s nothing smoldering – but I can still smell it.  Gross.  I move the ashtray to another patio outcropping….only to return to someone sitting down next to me and lighting up.  Just forget it.  (By the way – you know those things cause cancer, right?)

As I return to the hotel lobby, it overtakes me.

It’s a tsunami with no warning siren.

‘You are a typical American.  Egomaniacal.  Narcissistic.  Completely Care-less.

Thoughts of my friend serving as a missionary in a country where she lives in a hut with dirt floors and would die for indoor plumbing flood my crowded, complaining mind as I step into my elevator.  Actually, she would probably be grateful just for toilet paper.  The people in her village would find it preposterous that we would allow fresh water to run down the drain for 20 minutes merely in an attempt to change it’s temperature.  They probably don’t even know what that means.  Certainly the food at the buffet would feed most of her village….for weeks.  Internet connection.  Pool-side.  Smoking lounge.  Really?

God, thank you that today I have clean water.  Thank you for indoor plumbing, toilet paper, and eggs Benedict.  And thank you for my friend – who without saying a single word, reminds me how blessed I am.  Protect her – enlarge her mission and influence.  And help me to be a Grateful American – not a Typical one.

Author: Darren Sutton

I've been in student ministry nearly 30 years…which generally just confirms how much I still don't know. Some days I'm the pizza-eating, over-responding, teaching-on-the-fly, desperate-for-volunteers, frustrated-with-co-workers youth leader that we all are. And sometimes…I knock it out of the park. I'm everywhere on social media that you are!

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