The Southwest Experience: From Mundane to Memorable.
Recently, my husband and I took a trip to Denver. We had been wanting to visit Red Rocks Church, so we put our plan in motion and bought the plane tickets. Aaron (being the frugal guy that he is) found us the cheapest tickets possible which happened to be Southwest Airlines out of Milwaukee.
I’m not a frequent flyer by any means, but I’ve probably flown enough to give the pre-flight instructions with a high level of accuracy (I’m guessing you could too). First they start with the seat belt instructions, then the exits, the masks, seats that can be used as a flotation device, etc.
It’s mundane. It’s the same every time and I wouldn’t say it’s something I look forward to on a flight (unless I’m watching “Tommy Boy”- that’s one of the best scenes ever!) I don’t know if this is a “Southwest” thing, or if we just happened upon the coolest flight crew in history. They had done something that I had never experienced before. The entire preflight instructions were made to be light-hearted and memorable- to the point where the passengers erupted into applause at the end.
Instead of the standard “Put your luggage here or there” speech, they said things like, “Your luggage should be shoved into the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you until it is unrecognizable as luggage.” At first, it was a little annoying. It felt a little awkward. I could hear pockets of nervous laughter- the courtesy kind when someone is trying to be funny but they’re just not. But, oh yes- they kept going. It was as if they said, “I’m owning this… I’m going all in… even if it cost me my dignity.”
They continued setting the atmosphere with jokes like, “Your seat belt should be worn like Britney Spear’s pants, low and tight across the waist.”
“If you don’t like these jokes, there’s 6 ways to exit this plane.” (That’s when I laughed… because it applied to me, and come on — that’s clever!) It went on and on…
“If you wish to smoke, please make your way out onto the wing. If you can light it, you can smoke it. The rest of the passengers will begin watching a matinee of ‘Gone with the Wind’- airplane edition.”
“As always, please secure your mask before helping those around you. If you have two children, pick the one with the most potential and place theirs on first.”
Like I said, the result was wild applause. Maybe you take exciting flights all the time, but I’ve got to say- I’ve NEVER clapped at the end of the “this is how you fasten a seat belt” speech. After this many flights, I barely listen to the instructions anymore. I’ve heard it all before and I understand how to do it. (Moment of honesty- Aaron had to help me figure out the seat belt on this flight!)
We spent several minutes retelling some of the jokes and laughing about it. Then we started discussing what a great illustration this would make. One of my favorite illustrations ever is the “Thermostat” vs.” Thermometer” principle (From the book “Habitudes”). Basically, a thermometer reads a temperature. It is cold in here. It’s hot in here. It just reacts to the atmosphere around it. A Thermostat, however, SETS the temperature. It decides what the atmosphere of a room will be like.
That’s what the Flight crew did for us that day… they set the mood of the flight. And the result was- we were all the happiest most compliant flyers I’ve ever seen! Even the babies were well behaved! Aaron and I left that flight saying, “We will fly Southwest whenever possible.”
This got me thinking, “How many mundane ‘been-there- done that’ things am I settling for in my everyday life?”
For example, I believe I have the best husband on the planet. He is God’s best for me and he shows me the love of Christ in attitude and action all the time. Aaron truly is my “better half.” Having said that… great marriages can become mundane. We’re only 7 years into this thing and I feel like I know everything there is to know about him. I’ve heard every college story at least twice, I know everything ranging from his favorite cheese, to how particular he is about laundry.
In my relationship with Jesus (which will be 16 years on December 20th this year) I often have that ‘been-there-done-that’ feeling. I mean how exciting can the David and Goliath story be after 100 times?
Today I’m choosing to remember that I am a thermostat. It’s my job to set the “mood” in the relationships around me- especially my relationship with Christ.
2 Timothy 1:6a says, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God…”
In other words… “Turn up the heat!!!! Put another log on the fire!” So… thank you Southwest for the reminder that I can take the mundane and make it memorable. Not only is it possible to set the atmosphere, but it’s also my responsibility- because that’s what thermostats do.