Sunday, November 9, 2008

my day of travel

Even with the daylight savings the clock reads 4:55 a.m. …. far too early to be out of bed. Yet when you have yet to fall asleep your body doesn’t feel hazy or tired it just feels exhausted. Maybe it is the lack of sleep… or it could be the nostalgic way my heart feels this morning. Whatever it is I found myself looking around the airport terminal this morning and gazing at length into the faces around me. Some of them, like me, had headphones in their ears. It is the sign of a new generation/era… and even though I am one of those headphone wearers I can’t help but wonder what damage ipods, laptops, cell phones, etc. have done to the ways of communication in this country. How is it that the very technology meant to make communicating easier could also allow us to never actually need to see a person face to face. We have ridded ourselves of the need to actually sit down in the presence of another, stare deep into their eyes, and communicate. Where people used to sit in terminals and strike up conversations with the person next to them we now plug our ears with instruments of entertainment and communication. Instead of getting to know our fellow fliers we conduct business, work on our never ending to do lists, shoot last minute e mails, and more. Some how I can’t help but be saddened by the thought. What cool people have I missed out on since I got my ipod, laptop, or cell phone. How many times have I been sucked into the world of technology instead of being opening to conversation? Heck, I’m even guilty of putting my cell phone to my ear to pretend to talk to someone just so I can avoid talking to someone around me. I’d like to say the only times I pull that trick are when I’m busy and really mustn’t get stopped to chat…. But I know I’ve probably used it other times as well.
As my eyes continue to shift around the room I can’t help but stop on certain unknown faces and think “what is his story” or “why do her eyes look so sad” or “I wonder where they are going and why.” I could be entertained for hours simply by sitting in one spot “people watching.” I like to imagine what their lives are like or what their life story might be. I enjoy sitting in prayer for the nameless faces that I see.
Right now for example, I see a husband who is turned towards his wife. She is telling an animated story that she clearly passionate about. His eyes have not once left her face as he smiles, nods, and with silent cues encourages her along in her conversation. It is the very art of story telling and listening. AKA: communicating. They are a middle-aged couple who clearly have yet to tire of each others company.
Then to my right is another married couple. Unlike the first couple this couple have more than likely seen their golden anniversary. When I first sat down the seat next to the women sat empty. However, before too long an older gentleman walked up and handed her coffee and a muffin. I couldn’t help but overhear her as she jokingly stated she thought he had gone all the way back home for the coffee or had walked all over the airport in search for the coffee, With a weary smile he simply stated… “I did.” As she reassured him that he didn’t have to do that he again replied with a simple, “well you wanted coffee.” Then with the sweetest grin you could imagine he turned to me and added “what my wife wants she gets it… and deserves it.” They are the image of true love and sacrifice.
Across the aisle from me in the other row of seats is a small group of people huddled together. From their matching blue t-shirts and their excited chatter I’d say they are a mission team headed to serve somewhere.
On and on I could go… yet as I took in each face and each new set of people I couldn’t help but think of how different we all truly are. How amazingly unique God has made each of us. More than that, no matter how many different stories I make up for those faces, I realized I had no idea what was really going on in their lives. How many of those faces were suffering from physical, emotional, or spiritual, aches and pains? It was a good reminder to constantly be in prayer for those around me.

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