I’ve made my fair share of blunders. And while it’s tough to top elbow grease, there are moments when I rise to the challenge.
While every airport is unique, there are also things you can count on. Overpriced gift shops. Incessant reminders over the PA. Gate seating not conducive to naps. Loading zones lined with impatient taxis, crowded shuttles, and flustered drivers.
And hotel chains occupying nearby real estate. At my “home” airport in Detroit, such hotels are creatively named Hilton Detroit Airport, Marriott Airport, Comfort Inn Metro Airport.
In our family, I used to make the travel arrangements. (Due to incident in question, I was relieved of those duties.)
We were flying to Orlando at night and needed to pick up a rental car to drive to Daytona the next day. The hotel didn’t offer an airport shuttle, so we rented the car for an extra day.
We claimed our luggage and made our way through the airport. We got in the rental car and punched in the hotel address, and began our route. It was a short trip and something definitely felt off, but we were busy digging out payment to cover the $20 parking fee. That’s right, we had to pay to park the rental car. The rental car we rented for the SOLE PURPOSE OF DRIVING TO OUR HOTEL. Up the ramp we went, parked the car, and checked-in. Once in the room, Dennis called me to the window.
I anticipated the Florida view we must’ve had.
I’d love to describe what I felt, but feel it for yourself. Take all the money out of your wallet and wrap it tightly around your dignity. Then flush it down the toilet.
That’s what it’s like to be the type of person who thinks elbow grease comes in jars and rents cars to drive places they already are.
I’d booked the Hyatt Airport.
And unlike in Detroit, where that simply means it’s the closest Hyatt to the airport, that actually means the HYATT is IN the AIRPORT. The “view” my husband was calling me to see was the lobby we’d just walked through after we retrieved our luggage. The lack of airport shuttle suddenly made sense. We’d just rented a car to drive right back to where we were. And we’d paid to park it. The needless “ka-ching-ka-chings” were adding up.
This was a poor investment. We couldn’t get any closer to our destination than we already were. Transportation was redundant. Parking-fees, unnecessary.
This is how many of us pursue eternity. The end game. The ever after. With a redundant and unnecessary travel arrangement.
We look to our dos and don’ts, our wills and won’ts, our tries and shoulds, our nices and goods, divide by our morals and rules, our traditions and tools, our styles, finances, our causes and stances.
We act like those things get us from point A to point B, but they do no such thing. If those are our rented cars and our parking fees, we look awfully silly driving up the parking ramp with a rental from arrivals. Paying to park a car with nowhere to go, to get to where we already are. Unnecessary and costly.
Jesus has already done the work. He’s paid the price. He’s provided the path.
I’ve no hoops to jump through or steps to climb. Applying his payment to my life means I have already have the promise of eternity. Nothing to work for. Nothing to earn. Because I can’t. I never could. I never would be able.
Renting a car is fine. Taking it for a drive is fun. Using it to grab food or see sights – all part of the purpose. But using it to get where I already am – pointless and redundant. Paying to park a car already parked a few aisles over for free – pointless and redundant.
Those dos and don’ts, wills and won’ts, tries and shoulds, nices and goods, morals and rules, traditions and tools, styles and finances, causes and stances all matter.
But they aren’t the path. The path has been paved, paid, and traveled. What we do along the way and bring for the journey doesn’t get us there. It has purpose along the way. But none of it causes us to arrive.
I’ll never again pay three times to get where I already am. Not in eternity and not in an airport.