This morning I had an unusual experience, one that doesn’t happen to me often….scratch that…never happens to me. I was flying on a packed airplane out to a training program in Memphis. Busy with weary and hurried travelers our focused flight attendants slammed packed us in like sardines, making me wonder if the training they received started off in Maine packing house. As I made my way to my seat I realized that in the seat right behind me was a screaming child. I nervously glanced at my boarding pass and back to the seat number hoping that this wasn’t for me. Nope! Lucky Me!
Now if you have ever sat in the same space as a screaming child you know what I mean. Sobs, wails and screams continuously filled the cabin with decibels that only a Foley board operator would like. Earbuds and head phones alike were produced and plugged into whatever electronic devise that you might have had with you, drowning out the last vestige of earths end and giving the wearer the muffled bliss that those, who had not, longed for. Our distraught child’s beleaguered Mom was simply over powered to help.
What do you do?! I looked through my carry-on bag multiple times swearing up and down that I packed “those things” but, in the end I was left to endure the onslaught that my ears were powerless to avoid. It took everything I had to ignore it, all to no avail. I tried to read….and ended up reading the same line 5 times. I looked through the seat pocket hoping that a ‘complimentary’ headphone was there…no luck there. I was still trying to be the mature one and tolerate it but I was envisioning two more hour of this and wondering if my maturity would hold. What next? I know…Ill pray.
It’s a funny thing when you go to God with that type of petition. How all at once you realize that it’s not about you. God had allowed me to be in this situation so I can understand that He is in control. Psalm 139 tells me that He is right there with me and that He knows all my ways. If so, then this was not a surprise to Him. But, that was not the only thing He wanted me to understand. I was so involved in feeling bad for myself that I completely lost sight of the fact that the child’s Mom must have felt absolutely terrible. She had to know that all eyes were on her and her child. Twice the Flight Attendant had to come to the seat and admonish the child to sit down and buckle his seat belt; Mom herself told the child to please stop crying and I am not sure but I thought I heard the sound of a muffle ‘smack’ as a last ditch effort to subdue the little guy.
I am quite convinced that everyone on the plane, at least those within 10 rows of the ruckus, wanted that mother to “shut that kid up!” Of course, we as a civilized society would never, or should never, say those things out loud. What undoubtedly made matters worse was that this family was clearly Muslim and given the happening’s around the world these days many of us on this plane had no compassion toward this small family. Including me. Yet, God quicken to my mind the plight of this Mom and her kids and used it as an object lesson.
Now, as it turned out the child fell asleep as the flight progressed and was quiet for the bulk of the flight. However my questions remained. So much so that I wrote this blog during the flight. Why did I not think of them first? Where was my compassion? Unfortunately, we as a fallen people tend to think of ourselves first and put others second most of the time. Even as Christians our needs become predominantly the most important things to us and that needs to change. Who knows, perhaps I could have helped if I had thought of their needs instead of mine. In this case who was the biggest “Cry-Baby”? Hopefully, if this situation presents itself again I will look past my discomfort and take the upper hand. I do thank God for His grace and His reminder that I am saved by Grace and not infallible. Now, on a final note I did help this young Mom with her bags when were disembarking the plane…..yes…baby steps.