Revisiting the Glimpse

by DanWolgemuth on January 9, 2017

Within the past several days I was escorted back to the front seat of an incident that happened privately many years ago in Munich, Germany. I’m guessing it was in 1999… but that’s irrelevant, except that the lingering impact of this experience hovers over my soul.

I was in the center of my tenure with General Electric. Mary and I lived in suburban Kansas City… and my organizational responsibilities took me to England and Germany on a monthly basis.

I would often catch a very early flight from Munich on Friday morning, which would get me home in time for pizza on Friday night. Quite literally, my sleep was so short on Thursday night that the taste of toothpaste was still in my mouth when my alarm shook me awake.

I had the process down. Hotel München Palace was my launch pad… and while it was lovely, don’t be misled by the name. Clean. Efficient. Quiet, but anything but palatial. German to the core.

As I recall, I had a 6AM flight to Amsterdam on KLM Airlines. I tugged my roller bag to the undersized elevator in the hotel. I pushed the lobby level button and bent over to tie my shoe. With that assignment complete I glanced up to reorient myself for the exit from the elevator and the rendezvous with a Munich cab.

It was in that glance that my eyes caught the image that was captured in the mirror-clad elevator. I had ridden this same elevator many times, but always with my guard up and my best face forward.

In the middle of the night, the unguarded moment caught me defenseless. I looked terrible. Tired, disheveled, and hurried. I was a forty-something business leader in General Electric with an over-touched-up image of himself. At 4AM, in a candid and unpolished moment, I caught a glimpse of who I really was.

Certainly, in the nearly twenty years since that experience I’ve looked worse, on many, many occasions. But there was something about the moment, the posture, the presumption that was a stiff and impolite reminder.

This story is not a shame-filled, embarrassing disclosure… but a poignant reminder. On nearly every occasion, I look better to myself than I actually am.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Romans 12:3-5

According to the Apostle Paul (inspired by the Holy Spirit), an over inflated self-analysis keeps me from fully engaging with others. It keeps me independent and autonomous.

So I begin 2017 with this Munich confession.

Unfiltered wisdom.

I need help. I’m incomplete. I need you. We’re better together.

One body. One Lord.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Resist the urge to move the period in the verse above. All things, only and always through Christ.

Starting the year honestly, humbly and gratefully.

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