Emergency Exit Woe

Tomorrow, Loretta and I fly to Oregon. We have the tremendous blessing of speaking and sharing the message of health with a small church and community there. We're so excited and honored. Tomorrow, I will also board a plane for the first time in a while. Reminds me of the last time I flew alone. I admit, I knew I would share this story with you at some point.

It wasn't long after my second surgery and I remember consciously booking the emergency exit row. See, at that time I needed the ability to extend my hips as much as possible, so what better place on a plane than in the exit row? Well as I got to my seat, I realized that I needed help getting my carry-on in the overhead bin. I'm shaking my head as I type this but a sweet flight attendant assisted me. Thing is, just as soon as I said thank you, I knew I didn't inspire much confidence from her. With everyone else already in their seats, she asked, "Are you sure you should be sitting in this row?"

Freeze frame. In that moment, my mind traveled back to when Loretta and I first got married. Back then I was impenetrable. I felt like Superman. We had a tiny little apartment on the second floor and we had bought a stackable washer dryer for the unit. We were so proud of it. The only problem was I had nobody to help me get it upstairs. So what did I do? I put it on an upright dolly and then attached my hands to said dolly with my pulling straps, and I proceeded to deadlift it up each step. Strong legs, back, core and heart. Speaking of, Loretta's heart was in her throat, and yes, that day my brains were in my biceps.

Where was I? Oh, yes, the plane. Well, no longer Superman, I knew right away that the flight attendant had a point. And the point was that the emergency row wasn't there to meet my needs, it was there so the needs of others could be met. Of course, back in my 20s and 30s, I could've pulled the door plum off the side of the plane, but alas, I switched seats.

Friends, isn't it something? Our health in so many of life's circumstances isn't about us at all. It's about what we can do for others. I guess that's why I hope we board that same plane with that same flight crew. Like in Superman II, when Clark Kent goes back to that diner after regaining his power, I hope I'm asked if I can perform the duties required to help others. I'll humbly say yes. I may even steal Clark's line as I adjust my glasses and say, "I've been working out."

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: So grateful for your prayers as we travel tomorrow. And, of course, grateful for your prayers of health that are allowing us the opportunity to serve. Yesterday, I did modified push-ups from the knees. What are you thankful for today? What can we praise the Lord for today? And any prayer requests? As we prepare for the trip, we are lifting you up. You can also simply say "Unspoken" and we will pray for you by name. See you guys next week.

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