Written Three Months Ago. . . . .
Have you ever sat in an airport for two hours? Airports are simultaneously the most boring and busiest places in the world. You run and run to find where you are supposed to be, then you sit and wait.
Most people pull out a book, or electronics, or eat something. I(surreptitiously) (or so I think) watch people, wondering who they are, what their story is. The airport has a way of making me feel charitable towards others. That grouchy lady at the ticket counter probably is having a bad day. I should smile and be extra patient. That young mother has a two-year-old son and an infant. The boy and I engage in a funny-face war. That elderly woman pushed by me and took the last window seat–maybe she gets sick in planes and needs it.
I am not typically this nice. In fact, my airport experiences make me ashamed of my usual selfishness. The difference between my normal life and how I act in airports, though, is due to one thing alone. In the airport, when I watch people, I see them as people. I see them as individual human beings, made in the image of God. I see the toddler as a little human, who will one day grow up to be a student or a fireman or a father, rather than a fussy nuisance whose complaints exasperate my mild headache. I see the lady at the ticket counter as a lady, perhaps a mother, and know that it is entirely probable that I would probably be grouchy in her situation, too. I see the older woman as an elder, one worthy of my respect and care, and feel honored to sit by her rather than irritated that she got the window seat.
As I sit here in the Chicago Midway airport, I am convicted of my sin in this regard. I ought to see people as the beautiful, image-bearing-yet-fallen creatures they are all the time–not just in airports.