With so much fear of strangers, isolationism and individualism running rampant in our world today, I want to share with you a recent experience that made me realize how connected we are to one another and that deep down inside we are all the same.
My husband and I were flying out of Central Wisconsin airport in Mosinee a few weeks ago to visit my sister in Florida. Our scheduled departure was 11:15 am to Chicago where we, along with most of our other fellow travelers, were to connect to other flights.
First, an hour delay. Then another hour. Then another hour. Some of us were lucky and could still make our connection. Others began making different arrangements. Another hour’s delay and we too had to make an alternative connection. Finally, at 4 pm the plane came in and we boarded. However, the door would not close securely, and we were asked to de-plane until the mechanics arrived to correct the problem. As you might imagine, by now we were all tired, hungry and frustrated, but no one, absolutely no one, complained.
We began making a joke of our circumstances. The young man to my right, after visiting his grandparents in northern Wisconsin for the weekend, was anxious to get back to Omaha to see his pregnant wife. He opted to fly home rather than drive in a car with his father. Turns out his father arrived before him!
The couple to our left joked about piling us into their van and driving to Chicago O’Hare, beating the plane there. It was their first vacation without any children.
The family in the seats across the aisle were heading to California to visit friends. We shared stories about places in our area we were both familiar with. Friends would be waiting at the airport to pick them up, and they too were anxious to arrive at their destination.
Finally, after being delayed 8 hours, we were in the air. We lost some of our original passengers to other flights but a few continued on with us. None of us made our initial connections and all of us arrived late, some more so than others, but I was so moved by the patience, humor and understanding of everyone. No one was enraged and created a scene, like I have often heard about in the media. No one was angry or visibly upset. Everyone tried to make the best of uncontrollable circumstances.
If only one person had gotten angry, the whole situation could easily have tensed up for everyone. Instead, what I witnessed was the goodness and kindness of humanity. It was the gospel message of welcoming strangers, being kind to one another and loving your neighbor. It was realizing that no matter who we are, where we come from or where we are going, we are all essentially the same – brothers and sisters of the one Father.