There’s nothing like coming home after a long trip. No matter how good the trip is, once you get into the airport system, it’s like your body starts to shut down and feel the cumulative effect of days of poor sleep, too much food, too much drink and too much walking around in shoes that aren’t very good for walking.

This week, I’ve been in Minneapolis with my friend Mike at a pastor’s conference. It’s the first time I’ve attended an event like this, and it was very interesting meeting a lot of new guys and being a fly on the wall as they talked shop.

It was encouraging to hear these guys’ perspectives on being pastors and seeing how committed they all were to doing the right things the right ways. Of course, there was every kind of personality you could imagine represented there: young and old; trendy and conservative; quiet and talkative; and so on. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking these guys are somehow infallible, but you realize that they are just like you, with their own set of strengths and weaknesses and challenges.

I was there to be Mike’s wingman as he described a new endeavor to some key people at the event. He’s launching a new organization, The Harbor Institute for Faith and Culture, to help Christians make sense of living in a post-Christian culture. Harbor will include the launch of a blog, a series of podcasts and events all aimed at so-called lay-Christians.

Each of the folks we talked to at the event responded enthusiastically to Mike’s vision for the organization and offered some valuable insights from their respective perspectives that helped clarify the vision a little.

When we got to the airport today, I’d almost forgotten about meeting up with a member of the association I work for – a lady who works for Under Armour, in marketing, and seems to travel all over the country, working with individual locations to be more competitive and align with the corporate vision.

This lady, because of her constant travel, is difficult to get on the phone, but last week, we managed to chat briefly to try and schedule a call. We soon realized that we were both going to be out of town the first half of this week.

“I’m going to be out of town, Monday through Wednesday,” I said.

“Me too,” she said.

A little later, I mentioned that I was going to Minneapolis. “I’m going to Minneapolis,” she said. “When’s your flight on Wednesday?”

“2:20,” I said.

“So is mine,” she said.

“I’m flying with Southwest,” I said.

“Me too! Why don’t we just meet at the terminal and have a face-to-face conversation?”

And so we did. Mike and I got to the airport early, ate, then camped out at the gate. A little later, she showed up, got food, then joined us for a brief conversation about some challenges that she hoped I could add some perspective to.

Small world.

We finally made it home and dropped Mike off at his place. When I got home, I was introduced to a Chinese exchange student who is staying with us for 10 days. We exchanged pleasantries, and then I let her go and prepare for bed while I caught up with Angell and Daisy and Avery.

It was soooooooo good to sit and laugh and share stories with them and smell the familiar smells of home, and sit on my familiar couch and be with 3 of the 4 best people in the world.