Friday, May 08, 2009

People Watching at Midway

People watching at Chicago’s Midway Airport on a Thursday afternoon…

The guy directly across from me is dressed in a navy pin-striped suit and yellow tie, reading glasses sitting on top of his short black hair and his squinty little dark eyes drilling holes into his laptop. A blonde-gray woman and her husband, shorter than she is, walk by as she enjoys some ice cream. A little boy with a stuffed animal outpaces his mother as they trek toward the gate. The elderly woman next to me keeps calling different people on her cell and leaving voice mails, as if hoping to connect with someone, anyone. Finally she gives up and returns to her novel

Overhead, relentless announcement noise concerns various flights and passengers and decisions that must be made. Several admonitions to sneeze and cough into tissues and wash one’s hands are relayed.

Around me, billions of thought patterns are simultaneously emanating and seamlessly intersecting with one another unawares. At every angle I gaze upon one large, flawed canvass of God’s handiwork, left exposed to the elements of a broken world and showing its wear. Humanity.

All of my brief stays in this particular airport have come at somewhat emotional times. Exactly two years ago, I passed through here after an exhilarating conference called the Organizational Development Summit in downtown Chicago. In early December 2007, I spent an afternoon here as part of a long route from Boise, Idaho, to my newly-adopted city, Nashville. My family was still living in Florida, and it was a lonely month.

Last summer, I was here right in the midst of a difficult stretch of house hunting. My mind was elsewhere during that business trip. And today, I sit here a day after a deep plunge into the void prompted by some emotional pain I did not anticipate on this trip. I cleansed away some of its pungency last night through tears, but the pain’s dull ache and its root causes remain.

Oh, the humanity. I am glad to be home.


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