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Just a Trace

I felt like I was caught in the plot line of a bad B grade movie and that at any moment someone would emerge, light a cigarette, point a light in my eyes and say, "Ve ave vays of making you talk."

Lucky me; I was selected at random for a high tech search of my laptop compter as I passed through the security check point at the Albuquerque Sunport. The guard took a paper towel and wiped the outside of my laptop and put the towel over a small pipe emitting air. A moment later, she showed a printout to her supervisor. I strained to hear their conversation. "Run it again," he said.

By now, a line was forming behind me. She repeated the routine. Wiping my laptop, putting the paper over the small pipe and taking to her supervisor. After the third time, the supervisor came over and asked to see my ticket.

People were staring at me. I began to feel self conscious and kinda guilty. Guilty of what? I didn't know, but I felt the same way I did as a freshman in High School setting outside the principal's office because I smarted off at a teacher.

"Is there a problem?" I asked. "Your computer has set off three alarms, and we can't let you on the plane without the approval of the airlines." "What do you mean alarms--what kind of alarms?" Looking at the tape, the supervisor said, "The alarm is for plastic explosives." "Wait just a minute, the official from the airlines will be here soon."

I looked at my watch, I'd been in line now for 30 minutes, I could miss my flight. I considered my options. I couldn't leave my laptop behind, but I needed the Powerpoint presentation for the seminar I was leading in California and I was planning on writing an article on the plane that was due in five days.

When the official arrived, I answered a dozen questions. Then she asked, "Has anyone else touched your computer?" "Well I bought it used." "How long ago?" "Oh, last year." "Who did you buy it from." "I don't remember his name, all I remember is he was an engineer at Sandia." "Well that explains it," she said. "There is still a residue on the computer from when he handled it."

I couldn't believe my ears. They could detect what someone had on their hands who handled my computer over a year ago. Amazing. She let me proceed.

As I boarded the plane, I was relieved that everything worked out alright. I would meet my writing deadline, and be able to teach the seminar. But I couldn't help but think about the lingering effects of what we come in contact with. By now I wasn't thinking about plastic explosives anymore, I was thinking about the condition of my soul.

What are the lingering effects of a lustful look, or a flash of anger? What happens to a Christian leader when they give in to laziness and decide to relax instead of serve the Lord? That's why King David cried out, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." (Psalm 51:7 KJV)


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