Irritation or Compassion?

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My wife and I were on an international flight. It was not too long, about 6 hours, and like everyone else, we wanted the flight to be uneventful. Mostly, it was. But, it was not completely smooth.

About two and a half hours into the six-hour flight, a flight attendant asked if there was doctor on board. She said, “We have a medical emergency.”

My Response

Since this was an overnight fight, I heard the call and drifted back to sleep. For a brief moment, I thought that it would be nice if I could have responded, but I do not wish I was a doctor. That thought left almost as soon as it arrived.

How should we feel? When something bad happens, we have natural reactions.

Two Thoughts

My first thought was minor irritation. A medical emergency on a flight can slow things down or inconvenience the other passengers. In this case, it did both. After landing, everyone remained seated until paramedics arrived and transported the injured passenger off the plane. We all had to wait.

My second thought was that I should be more compassionate. I do not know what happened to the person. Regardless of what it means for everyone else, someone was in pain and needed help. Jesus demonstrated this kind of compassion when he wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19.41-44). He could have been irritated by the way the people of Jerusalem rejected him and missed his point. Instead, his heart broke for them.

Learning & Growing

I went on with my vacation. The man on the plane went to the hospital. Irritation at an inconvenience is natural. My takeaway from the experience is to seek to model Christ as my first reaction.

2 Replies to “Irritation or Compassion?”

  1. We were flying from Addis Ababa to Cairo. Flight was to depart at Midnight, but was delayed until 2AM. Then we got on the plane, and a child went into anaphylactic shock. It took over hour to get a doctor and get the child off the plane and into emergency care. Every passenger was tired, nerves frayed from waiting so long. But people were pretty patient sitting there on the plane, not moving on the tarmac. The same people who had been quite rude to Ethiopian Airways staff in the airport were much more compassionate while sitting on the plane. Maybe the fact that the person in distress was a young child made people act more kindly.

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