I was traveling recently and picked up a copy of Vanity Fair in one of the airport shops. As I rifled through it, the results of a short poll caught my attention.
Just as it did, a nice-looking man asked me if I would watch his luggage while he grabbed some breakfast. “Of course,” I replied, coquettishly batting my eyelashes. Then I turned my attention back to the magazine.
Results of the poll indicated that of all the powers a superhero possesses, reading people’s minds is the power most Americans would choose over any other. Over flying or becoming invisible; over possessing super-strength or having X-ray vision.
“Why would you want to know what people were thinking about you?” I wondered. “I would rather fly.”
The man returned, finishing his breakfast sandwich, and asked me where I was going. San Diego, I answered. (“Duh, it’s a direct flight,” I thought, glad that he couldn’t read my mind.) “That’s where I live,” he said, and began telling me about some pretty good shopping and sight-seeing places. We talked until we began to board the plane.
Before I possessed the super power of reading minds, I would have thought, “This guy thinks I’m hot and wants to start a conversation with me by asking me to watch his luggage.” The fact that I was 25 years older (give or take) did not fit into my fantasy.
But if I could read minds, I would know what he was really thinking. “Look, here’s a safe-looking, old married woman (indicated by wedding ring). She won’t think I’m flirting with her if I ask her to watch my luggage.”
No, we are better off in the dark.
Forgiveness comes easier if we don’t know the motives behind someone’s actions. Hospitality, too, is less complicated. As is love.
The only mind-reader I know is God, who loves us despite really knowing us. Now that’s a power I would like to possess. And flying.
Terri Lackey is managing editor of Lutheran Woman Today magazine.