During the first week of each New Year, Jan and I like to do something special together. This year we drove out of town and booked a night at a beautiful hotel. We filled our days with shopping, dining and just enjoying each other’s presence. The hotel where we stayed was considered the best hotel in the city. It had an elegant feel, a concierge, and an excellent reputation for service. Each room was beautifully appointed. Two white terry cloth robes awaited our arrival.
In the morning, I do what I like to do when staying in a hotel that serves a buffet breakfast. I grab a tray from the room and head down to the breakfast area to bring our meal back to our room where I get to serve Jan breakfast in bed. This particular morning, as we ate and watched the morning news, something scary happened.
I went to take a bite of the fresh blackberries I had brought back to the room. As I prepared to raise the fork to my mouth, I noticed a piece of twisted wire about an inch long. It looked like it was something that had broken off from an industrial-sized cleaning tool. If I had swallowed the wire no Heimlich maneuver would have saved me. It was a surgery-worthy piece of steel, had it lodged in my throat. I set it aside, told Jan to be careful with her blackberries and continued to enjoy my breakfast.
After I ate breakfast, I wrapped the piece of wire in a napkin and went down to the front desk and spoke with the manager on duty. I was glad the only other people in the lobby area were at the far end of the counter waiting for the elevator. I leaned forward and in a quiet voice began to share what happened while unfolding the napkin to reveal the wire. The manager gasped and leaned toward me as we formed an impromptu huddle. With our heads not far apart, I said, “This is not something I am going to post on Yelp or Trip Advisor. I know these things happen. I just wanted to let you know. This is a great hotel with great service and I know this was an accident.” He reached over the counter and shook my hand and said, “Thank you. People don’t always do that.”
The incident at the hotel caused me to think about how we choose to live our lives. No one is without some kind of flaw from time to time. If you look long enough, you will find one. It doesn’t take discernment to discover a weak place in a person’s life. At times, any of us can be defined as insensitive and preoccupied with our own needs. Most of us have a screwy theology somewhere in our thinking or a regretful failure as a parent or a friend.
When these pieces of the twisted wire of our humanity are discovered they are not to be released, as our first response to a problem, via the variety of cultural megaphones we have at our disposal. We live in a gotcha world. Because of that sad reality, many people have adopted the mindset that the more fault they can find and announce to the wordl the more spiritually in tune with God they must be when in fact just the opposite is true. Anyone can find fault. It takes a work of the Spirit to hold a fault in your hand and not let that discovery define a person, a cultural institution or a hotel that is really trying their best to provide their guests with an enjoyable stay. How we handle the discovery of something negative is more of an indicator of the condition of our hearts than it is an indictment against those who possess the failure we discovered.