Yes. A poop story.
Y’all. I waited five years to tell this story. Five years to share about an incomprehensible peace that I experienced on a solo trip to Barcelona in May 2017. Literally, a peace in God that surpassed my understanding.
And I waited because, to tell it would mean talking about poop. One of those socially taboo, TMI topics.
So, I kept it (mostly) to myself all these years. But recently, the memory came back to me. God reminded me of His peace I felt in that situation. The peace He promises us all. And I thought, “Why let something as silly as poop keep me from sharing such a profound moment in my life?”
So, I’m sharing.
If you’re not a fan of poop stories, this is your cue to stop reading 🙂
Metro to Barcelona Airport
As I mentioned above, it was May 2017. My second solo international trip. I’d just spent three days in and around Barcelona and was headed to the airport on the metro. As I recall, it was a rather long ride. Over 30 minutes with all the stops.
That morning, I felt fine—other than not feeling ready to leave Spain. No stomach issues. No hint of any physical ailment that might impact my trip home. So, on the metro I went, with my suitcase and carry on bag.
About 20 minutes from the airport, I suddenly felt not so great. If you’ve ever experienced diarrhea, you know the feeling. I don’t have to tell you. As soon as it hit me, I clenched with all my might. You know what I mean. I clenched, and I tensed, and I thought to myself, “This cannot be happening right now!”
After a minute that seemed like an hour, the feeling passed. Relieved, I relaxed and took a few deep breaths. “Whew, that was close!”
Maybe two minutes later, the feeling struck again. “No. No. No. Please God. Nooooo!” My mind screamed. My heart raced. I clenched like my life depended on it. I was a frantic mess on the inside while trying to appear as calm as possible on the outside.
And then it stopped again. The diarrhea feeling. This time, my relief was laced with skepticism. Would this keep happening?
Yes. Yes, it did happen again. Every few minutes for about 20 minutes, the rest of the ride to the airport.
Probably about 10 minutes in, I realized that this was beyond my control. Pooping my pants on the metro was a real possibility and, beyond clenching, I was powerless to prevent it from happening. That’s when my prayers changed from frantic bursts to acknowledgement of my situation. Something like, “Okay God. I can’t control what happens. Panicking isn’t helping anything. I trust you. I’ll survive. If I crap myself before I get to the airport, at least I have a change of clothes here in this suitcase.”
Did that stop the diarrhea pangs from coming in waves? Not in the slightest!
But guess what? I stopped freaking out. I clenched. I prayed calmly. And I felt peace. The strangest peace I’ve ever experienced, even to this day!
And I didn’t poop my pants on the metro.
When I reached the airport, finding a bathroom was paramount. I beelined for the first one I saw and spent about 30 minutes in the stall. But it wasn’t at all what you might think. In those 30 minutes, my #2 was surprisingly regular… and minimal. No diarrhea whatsoever. In fact, I only stayed in the bathroom that long because I thought there must be some mistake. Surely, my body was playing tricks on me and the minute I got up, the feeling would strike again.
I probably would’ve waited even longer, but I was afraid I’d miss my flight. I knew I’d barely have enough time to get through security and hoped it wouldn’t hit me then or I’d be sweating in front of the security agents. That wouldn’t look suspicious, right?
The first hurdle was finding the American Airlines counter to check my bag. All the airlines were spread out in a large, open area with no overhead signs. I had no idea where to start. But, before I even had a chance to panic, I heard an English speaking man near me say “American Airlines” and I quickly asked if he knew where to go. One of his family members had gone to ask for directions, so once they had an answer, I stuck with them and we headed toward the AA counter. Thank you, God!
But wait. The line was LONG. And not moving. I looked at my watch. At that point, I had less than 30 minutes before boarding and it was looking like an hour in line. Minimum. But I had to check my bag.
Strangely enough. The peace came back. If I could rest in God when I thought I might poop my pants on the metro, why couldn’t I trust Him now when I thought I might miss my flight?
There I stood. Accepting that I was not in control and trusting the God who is. And then, an American Airlines employee came up to the line near me and asked, “Is anyone on the flight to Miami?” Instantly, my hand shot up. “I am!” She told me to follow her as she walked me to the head of the line, where I was helped by the next available agent. I can’t make this up!
Then, the security line… but it was SO quick and I felt fine.
Less than 10 minutes later, I was at my gate. Boarding was still 5 or so minutes from starting. Again. Thank you, God!
Flight back to the US
And boy does God have a sense of humor. While waiting to board, I wondered… “What if the diarrhea feeling comes back? And what if it’s real this time? That won’t be fun on an 8 hour plane ride.“
But guess where I sat on the plane? Second to last row—right near the bathroom.
Guess who was sitting next to me? NO ONE. Row to myself.
Guess who had even a hint of diarrhea on the 8 hour flight? Not me. Not once.
I imagined God having a good laugh about that. Giving me peace on the plane—just in case—all the while knowing I’d be okay.
That day, I experienced peace that surpasses all understanding. No question. I lived Philippians 4:6-7. Yes, I realize my worst case scenarios were only pooping my pants in front of strangers and missing my flight back to the US—and there are far worse struggles and outcomes that people face every single day.
And yet, there are also daily struggles we all face and, at times, it’s easy to live in the frantic and panic and anxiety of even the smaller things when we lack any sort of control. That day taught me to “accept the things I cannot change” and give the situation to God, come what may.
That’s why I decided to share this story. To stop worrying about the TMI or embarrassment, and just share a profound moment in my life when I felt the fullness of God’s peace—with the hope that it will help you find peace, too.
Do you have a story of peace that surpasses all understanding? I’d love to hear it!