Monday, April 07, 2008

At the airport

Observing human nature can be very interesting.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to observe plenty of it during an enforced 7-hour wait in Gatwick airport’s departure lounge. Britain was struck by an arctic blizzard, causing a snowfall of about 2 inches in not many more hours. The sight of children playing snowballs, trees etched in exquisite tracery against the heavily-laden grey sky… all of that was wonderful.

Then came the airport…

At first, recognising that there was little that could be done, people were friendly and peaceful, accepting the inevitable. Within a very short time, complete strangers chatted as though they had known each other for many years, finding amusement in the antics of some of the children dotted around the departure lounge with their parents. Two small Irish boys had been with a Scot and were trying out the Scottish accent (without any success, I amight add) added to their new catch phrase, "I don't know, brother." They were fascinating in their attemepts.

But time passed and still there was nothing happening to the departure board. Irritation leves started to rise, imperceptibly at first and then more noticeably, as increasingly frustrated individuals tried to remain polite towards completely blameless fellow would-be passengers. Staff at the Information desk, pressurised beyond belief with questions they could not hope to answer, did their best, although I watched one young Asian being brusquely sent away because his plane as not due for another two hours whereas the packed throng around the desk had already been around for six or seven hours.

The British Airports Authority decided to step in and offered a chocolate to hundreds of waiting passengers, who, meanwhile, were becoming increasingly impatient and rude as they clustered around the Information desk. There, the beleaguered staff were admirable in their composure although even they were becoming increasingly flustered.

Where was the earlier goodwill?

Helplessness is something that none of us enjoys. We like to feel in control and, in uncontrollable situations, find it increasingly difficult to remain in control of even our own emotions.

Lord, when I am unable to organise my own life, help me to remember that my life is yours and that you are really the one who is leading me and guiding me. Help me not to vent my frustrations and irriation on the helpless. Help me to look for peaceful solutions for myself and for others. Amen

God bless,
Sr. Janet