You know these barriers, they are the lines at the airport everyone must experience in order to get through security. The moment you see them you know what is about to happen. Or do you?
I was recently in an airport and battened down my emotional hatches to prepare for the security line experience. A family with small children and strollers were in front of me and I could see the busy, business travelers doing everything they could to get out from behind that family. I had no options, so I put on my patience hat and just chilled out. Once the family got to the front of the line the little boy wanted to hold his own boarding pass; it was quite a big boy moment for him. The face of the security agent melted into a smile and everyone around paused to savor the innocence and joy on that little fellow’s face as he handed his document to the large, strange man. The toughest of business tycoons turned into butter as they waited with appreciation to experience this unique moment in time. I then stood in wonder as tailored suit wearing men helped the family breakdown their strollers and put them on the conveyor belt.
My faith in humanity was restored. The innocence and joy of that little boy’s face reminded everyone in line of what matters in life, of what it means to have childlike faith, and how one act of kindness can soften the hardest of hearts and bring them back to the human race. With all we have crowding our lives we all too often brush by the moments life provides that remind us of what really matters. We focus so hard on checking the boxes and marking off completed to do items that we neglect to see our chance to tap into the humanity within our souls.
As I experienced the rest of my travel day I somehow was no longer bothered by the lines, the pushy people or my obvious lack of control in being able to stop standing in lines. I settled into my small place in this sea of human beings all trying to get from one lace to the other. I was determined to find another moment of joy and kindness amidst the madness. As I looked I was able to see people giving up their seats, heavy bags being lifted by a stranger, and parents being assisted by anyone in corralling their strollers.
Just when you think you know what is about to happen, the moment you see those security line barriers and understand the process, it is at those moments when life can surprise you. You simply have to slow down and pay attention. No matter how adult we get life can surprise us if we are just willing to pause. That little boy will probably not remember his first security line experience, yet no adult who was there will ever be able to forget it.