I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.
I used to think that nails-down-a-chalkboard was the worst sound in the world. Then I moved on to people-eating-cereal-on-the-phone. But only this week did I stumble across the rightful winner: it's the sound of a baggage carousel coming to a grinding halt, having reunited every passenger on your flight with their luggage, except for you.
In the summer of 2007, I went to Romania for a month-long mission trip with a group of 12 other people from APU. When we arrived in Bucharest and got to the baggage claim area, all 13 of us stood around watching every. single. person from our flight pick up their suitcases...and eventually we began to realize that none of us had gotten ours yet.
Sure enough, there was some sort of mix-up on our layover at Heathrow, and all of our group's luggage was mis-labeled and sent who-knows-where-but-it-sure-wasn't-Bucharest. A couple of us got a little angry, but knowing we were about to spend the first ten days of our trip at a kids' camp in the wilderness with no electricity or plumbing, I wasn't too concerned with not having clean clothes to wear.
Until, that is, we stepped outside into the open air.
See, we were all wearing shorts and T-shirts, because it was going to be summer and therefore obviously plenty warm and no one thought to pack pants or sweatshirts or socks. So imagine our surprise when we emerged from the airport into a chilly, windy, heavily raining reality. Anyone who wasn't showing signs of frustration at our lost luggage earlier was definitely starting to crack. (That is, this girl.)
And then we met the lovely people from the church we'd be working with at the kids' camp, and one of them -- an unbelievably, genuinely sweet lady named Emese (pronounced EM-eh-sheh) -- literally dumped the contents of her wardrobe in front of us and told us to take whatever we needed to keep us warm and comfortable until our luggage showed up.
The most remarkable thing about this story, though, is that Emese didn't act like it was remotely inconvenient to give away all her clothes to a bunch of strangers, even though it would mean a MAJOR laundry day in her near future, and even though she didn't know how long we would be using them (which, for the record, was like four days). Instead, she expressed with absolute glee that she was so happy to do a "small" thing for the people who were visiting her church.
I tell ya, that spirit of humility and hospitality is something I have remembered to this day.
And the next time I'm standing at baggage claim, watching the last suitcase be snatched up as the giant conveyor belt comes to a screeching halt, leaving me empty-handed and unprepared for whatever adventure I'm about to begin, I don't think I'll be too upset about it.