At this particular moment, I’m not entirely sure which day I’m on. Yesterday was minutely separated by two short cat naps in which I only found slight rejuvenation. Because of some miscommunication among other things, I wasn’t able to spend the weekend in Atlanta like I planned. Instead, Holly taught me to drive her manual transmission Ford Taurus at midnight and we headed west. After much frustration on my part, we made it to the airport at 5am. Holly dropped me at the gate and took off back toward Charleston. She’s an amazing friend, I tell you what.
I walked into the airport with the assumption I could just check my bags, go through security and wait out the next 12 hours exploring this massive travel hub. However, that was not the case. The airline I’m flying only has one flight per day to Seattle and the kiosk employees don’t arrive until three hours before departure. For me that meant good quality time stuck in a food court with two big suitcases and my backpack. Thank goodness I opted out of bringing my guitar – that would have been beyond disastrous.
I tried being productive, and I actually was for quite a while. But if you’ve traveled a lot, or even just a little, you have to know one of the best parts of sitting so long in a place with hundreds of people is the sport of people watching. For the most part, I observed all the airport employees beginning their shifts early in the morning. I guess I took a moment to sit back and take in the monotony. I could feel the gloom of their personal gray clouds raining down moody monday’s. Just another day. Just another dollar. Some held their heads high, others walked with defeat. Some shuffled aimlessly with their lunch bags in hand.
I knew none of their stories. I imagined some of them coming from cramped apartments, leaving their kids to ready themselves for school. I pictured others at a second job to make ends meet. Some I knew felt blessed to have the job they held. In that moment, God spoke to me and said, but I know each of them. It was a jolt of truth, a slap of reality that this world is bigger than I am and God knows all about it. Each story, each triumph, each failure, each second chance. God sent His son for that sea of faces and God’s son willingly died for each of these strangers. Well, strangers to me.
Sitting at my gate writing this, I just witnessed a man help a disabled man he didn’t know. The disabled man was trying to catch the attention of an attendant. I saw it and ignored it, too focused on my composition. But this other man got up and asked the man if he could help. And he did. Wow. First, I feel like a hypocrite, but God just showed me a picture of Jesus…we are all that disabled man asking for help…and we’ve been ignored by a world who says it will help the broken in its own way, in its own time. But a man who seems to be a total stranger stood up and lent his own hand in assistance when the hurting man needed it.
I made it a point today to ask God to speak to me. In the midst of a busy airport and a 12 hour confinement, he did. Amid the sea of faces and good Samaritans, I found that I have so much to learn about life…and what I learn I need to practice. So if you were at the Atlanta airport today, know that you weren’t lost in a sea of faces. In fact, you stood right out to me.