“Are you serious?” I asked the TSA agent incredulously. “My hands tested positive for explosives?”
At 4:00 AM that morning my husband and I woke up. Fifteen minutes later we roused our three children (ages 9, 6, and 4). By 4:45 AM the five of us were on our way to the airport.
We checked our bags without a hitch and headed to security screening. To my delight my children dutifully removed their shoes and put their blankets in my bag without fussing–though they worried about our bags as they rolled through the x-ray machine.
Suddenly a voice rose above the crowd gathered at the security check-point. “Remember any liquids must be travel-sized and put in a bag like this,” a TSA agent held up a clear zip-lock bag.
“UGH!” I turned to my husband. “I forgot to put my lotions and lip gloss in a baggie. Oh well, I’ll just throw them in the bin.”
I tossed those items in a bin and then herded our three children to the metal detector. “Who wants to go through first?” another TSA agent asked.
J walked slowly through the metal detector, turned and waited. Next L walked through and a red light went off.
“Does she need to go through again?” I asked the agent.
“No, she has been selected as a random screening. That means you both will be screened.”
“Fabulous,” I think to myself.
The rest of us pass through the metal detector without a problem and we head to the end of the x-ray machine.
There the TSA agent grabs a white paper and wipes my hands with it. Then she runs it through her machine. My hands tested positive for explosives.
I’m sure all TSA agents are told how to handle these situations, but the agents didn’t tell us what to do.
First precious L just wanted her daddy. She was nervous and did not want to sit in a chair and wait with me. Next we weren’t allowed to touch our stuff, but no one actually said, “Don’t touch your stuff until we go through it.” They just periodically pulled our bags from us and said, “You can’t touch this now.”
After testing our bags for explosives and taking me into a private room for a pat down, someone took our boarding passes. Again no one told me why, but I had to wait what seemed like FOREVER to get our boarding passes back.
Amazingly God had His way with me through the entire event. Perhaps it was because I didn’t want my L to lose it, but I didn’t get stressed out at all. Through God’s grace, I was thankful for these new security checks to keep us safer. I thanked the agents for what had to be a difficult job.
However, I realized what I don’t often model for my kids–patience and self-control. Instead i often explode when inconviences or other things spark my anger or frustration. As I pondered this, I realized it takes two things to make explosive situations–the explosives and the spark. When I harbor the dynamite of self-centeredness in my heart, any spark–a random security check or getting cut off while I drive–sets off an explosion.
I can’t control the sparks that fly at me on a daily basis, but I can control what I harbor in my heart. Am I clinging to explosives or am I allowing God to sweep my heart clean so the spark has nothing to ignite?
Perhaps it is time to let God do some cleaning.