Leg number one was behind me. After over an hour delay just getting out of the airport at home, I had finally arrived in Dallas en route to Chicago. Leaving Greenwood, Arkansas and leaping into the great big world of the big city was going to be a culture shock to say the least. I have to say that as I waited for our delayed flight to leave I was quite amazed as I studied the two fellas that had been waiting beside me in the waiting area. There was strong evidence that suggested that they were tattooed from head to foot, although I could only see what was exposed at their necklines and on their arms. A plethora of intrinsic artwork left their wrists and disappeared under the short sleeves of their t-shirts. They looked as though they had not enjoyed the pleasure of sleep in days.
Upon arrival to Dallas the variety in the flora of people bloomed dramatically. Every race, color, size, and ethnicity of people seemed to have flocked there on their way to some destination. People amaze me, and I enjoy just watching them, seeing what they do and how they look. The Lord sure enough used his imagination when He created such a variety of people.
One of the things that I’m always sure to do while on the ground in the airport is to find the nearest restroom so I don’t have to seek one while I’m in the air. Upon entering the detestable cesspool I was thankful that it did not have a door I had to touch. As I entered, I saw a little girl, about seven years old, standing against the outside wall of the bathroom. Apparently someone inside had told her to attach herself to that location until their return.
I went inside and took care of what I had to do in the midst of a busy crowd, careful not to take my eyes off of my belongings. As I quickly left the public outhouse my nostrils thanked me, but I caught a glimpse of a young father standing behind his small son assisting him with his business there. The little blonde-haired girl was still at her post outside, backpack intact, standing against the wall. Seeing both of the children made me appreciate the fact that mine were at home, safe and sound.
I couldn’t take my eyes off of the girl, though—such a picture of innocence standing there frightened and alone. Something deep inside of me said, “If that were your little girl, wouldn’t you want her to be safe?” So I paused and just stood there a few feet away, watching to make sure that someone came for her. An eternity of thirty seconds passed, and finally the man and small boy emerged and reunited with Goldilocks, who seemed to glow with happiness upon their reunion. They departed quickly, headed to who knows where. Then I did the same.
On the second leg of my journey from Dallas to Chicago everyone had settled into their seats and was awaiting departure. It was getting close to time to take off when a couple of ladies and several children, late arrivals, made their way down the aisle. As I sat there looking at the older lady as she passed inches away from my line of site, I couldn’t help but notice her shirt that boasted a large heart on the front. In the middle of the heart was embroidered “My heart belongs to my grandchildren”, but from the look on her face as her three-year-old granddaughter was screaming I wasn’t convinced. Naturally, they all piled in to the row behind me.
The flight was pretty uneventful. Shortly into the two hour flight a curtain closed in the first class section which couldn’t keep the cooked food smell from making its way to our noses in the cheap seats. Soon the beverage cart arrived with complementary coffee, sodas, and juice, as well as a variety of high priced food items for purchase. In spite of the higher than convenience store pricing I heard the grandmother behind me order three cookies for ten bucks to distribute among those to whom her heart belonged.
For the remainder of the flight I read a book, drank my coke, and visited with the grandfather beside of me. He was on his way from Texas to Chicago to stay the week with his two older daughters and their husbands, and most notably to help care for his fourteen-month old granddaughter while in town. From the look on his face, I was thinking that his granddaughter was going to be on the forefront of his mind for the week.
As it was getting close to landing time, I could hear the children behind us begin getting restless, and I couldn’t say as I blamed them. My backside was complaining to me about the two hours it had been planted in the same hole as well. I then heard the little girl over my right shoulder begin coughing, which turned into a choking/gagging sound. I cringed as I envisioned chunks of her cookie flying past my head, wondering if I should salvage it since her grandmother had cashed in her 401K plan to pay for it. I was quite relieved as the coughing subsided, a close call indeed.
Soon we landed and I quickly disembarked from the plane, relieved to be on solid ground again. Jumping off feet first into this sea of people in the urban jungle, I was lost as a goose. I couldn’t quite blame the little blonde girl at the bathroom earlier in the day for being afraid in the midst of this madness, but I knew I would find my way soon enough to the hotel. I did.
“Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift, the fruit of the womb His generous legacy?”
Psalm 127: 3 The Message
Written by David Steen, with God smiling, July 20, 2010