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Preview Chapter of The 27 Messiah

Chapter 15

Another opportune time to find a sense of self is while standing in lines. Whether it's at the check out counter, bank, bathroom, concession stand, the ride, communion, the autograph table, or any other place where people wait, the line holds a mystique and social groups can form within.

Each line produces an energy. The line at the bank is far quieter than most other lines. People are reserved, hiding their financial intentions. It's a private line. Most of our attention is held on our upcoming task at the teller, but we size up everyone else just the same as any other line.

The amusement park line is my favorite. While down at Disney World, I realized that the It's a Small World ride should be renamed the “It's a Long Line After All” and the song should be remixed accordingly. The personality of the line varies and is affected by which ride you are waiting for. Tee shirt logos, hair styles, ringing cell phones, food sharing, baby carriages, numbers in a group, voice volumes, break outs into song, hugging, holding hands, conversations about the upcoming ride and other rides, dialects, the weather, wait time listings and park personnel are all included in the temporary culture of the line. When the line splits up at the front, you leave behind an experience of people. Was there a potential love you just waved good-bye to as the clickety-click begins? Did you bring joy to the line? Did you make a potential new friend? I carry a lot of business cards when I go to any theme park. I try and hand them out wherever I can. If anything, the business card is an excellent form of introduction in these settings.

There is always potential tension in lines also. The longer you wait, the more strain there is on your feet, back and emotional happiness. As my energy drains after a long wait, I don't always feel like being as chipper as I may have been when I entered the line. The park attendant may ask me how I'm doing today and I don't always respond positively. All I want to hear at that point is: “We're sorry about the wait, hope the ride makes up for it.” If I get this, then the ride attendant has earned my respect. I have great tolerance for people who can see the situation and offer hope. I'm more apt to enjoy and experience the ride at hand than be haunted by how long I just had to wait.

While I was in college I studied waiting in lines. It was called queuing theory. For the life of me I couldn't produce the formulaic expressions today, but the importance holds tremendous value as waiting times keep getting longer. The goal is to minimize the wait. The problem is that changing the way people wait in line can be costly in terms of renovations. Just look at highway construction. We need good eight lane highways right now, so that means there should be 12 lane highways in place to handle the future. The problem seems that every time you finish adding a lane to the highway, you already need another and the construction seems to cause perpetual delays.

Traffic is perhaps the most severe of all lines. Road rage is a common expression today and it is directly influenced by traffic wait times. Whether you are in Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Chicago, or Miami, you are the true road warriors. You are burdened like no other. I pray for your inner peace that is assailed by the idiot who just cut you off. Please consider tuning into a funny morning or afternoon radio personality instead of carrying a gun in the car.

As we enter the rat race each morning, our challenge is to maintain our humanity and compassion. Bringing love into the line and humbling yourself will deflate many aggressors. If you are an aggressor perhaps you can connect with your conscience a bit better and soften your wrath on others. Having a sense of self is beneficial while waiting in line.

There are many circumstances where you can make a difference. One idea that I used was to take a piece of poster board and write, “I'm sorry” on it. I kept it in the car for the times when I accidentally cut someone off. I used it twice and it worked like a charm. Other times, I have received the traditional bird. I usually just give them a blessing back.

There are no perfect drivers out there (in my eyes, Mark Martin comes the closest), so if we could just understand that someone will be messing up and attach a forgiving heart to begin with, then we can make the world a better place in a hurry. The problem in traffic is people lose their connection to self very quickly. As driving is a 24 hour job, we tend to react harshly to threats against our safety no mater how unintentional they may be. Take a moment before you put the car in gear and pray that you are forgiven your trespasses as you forgive those who pass against you without using their turn signal.

The 27 Messiah will be available on Kindle™ soon