I hadn’t flown since before 9/11. Entering the Nashville airport, my son and I had no idea what to expect. Having read everything I could about the latest security regulations, we felt as prepared as we could be. Our shuttle dropped us at the terminal entrance, where our bags were processed and checked in, leaving us to act like we knew what we were doing as we approached the security checkpoint.
Despite our late Sunday evening flight, people were everywhere. Individuals, couples, families, even a college softball team…all shuffling through without our shoes on. The laptop, iPad, and other technology items I had packed so carefully (and tightly) into my carry-on bag had to be removed. (Note to self: it never goes in the same way you packed it at first.). Thankfully, we experienced nothing other than the normal delays within the security process, leaving us a couple of hours to walk around before our flight.
Nashville’s airport isn’t large and isn’t small. It’s in the middle, providing just enough to do, see, and eat, without making you feel like you’ll get lost and have to live there forever. We went to a chain restaurant for an early supper and talked about what the flight and trip would be like.
Everywhere we went in the airport, I saw it. In the eyes of the young lady a table over at the restaurant. In the desperation of the headphone salesman. In the tears of the woman walking (and then collapsing in sadness) with a friend.
Entering the airport, I didn’t know what to expect. But I was reminded to always expect pain in the lives of the people around you. Everyone is dealing with something.
Some are lonely.
Some are scared.
Some are broken.
Some are abused.
Some are lost.
We too often walk through life as I did at first in the airport, simply concerned about what delays and inconveniences I was going to have, focused only on what affects us.
Perhaps today God will open our eyes to the pain in the lives of others, showing us how to take the healing gospel of Jesus to them.
Pain is everywhere. So is Jesus. Lord, give me the courage to connect the latter to the former.