Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mental Snapshots: Flight DFW to Germany

Do you ever experience something and later have a part of the memory stuck looping through your head? I have a few memories like this from our flight from Dallas, Texas to Frankfort, Germany. (13 hours stuck on a plane might have something to do with this. ;))

When we were waiting to board the flight in Dallas, there were several mothers with small children. I noticed a blond, curly-headed toddler with his mom- I'll call him Matt- and another darker headed toddler with his obviously expectant and tired mother. Matt was very curious about Elias, like most young children are, and kept inching closer and closer to look at the baby. Finally, he came over and investigated for real. He was very sweet and gave Talia a spontaneous hug. Suddenly, the other toddler had had enough of sitting in his stroller and started wailing in anguish. His mom looked embarrassed and tried to console him, but she was too pregnant and he too big to pick up comfortably and he really wanted to run around but couldn't because we were boarding soon. Matt heard his crying and his face wrinkled up like he was trying to figure out the problem. Then, he went over to the crying toddler and hugged him. The crying toddler stopped crying and his face brightened at his new friend. The whole area watching him chuckled.

When we boarded the plane we had a middle row of three seats sandwiched between aisles dividing a set on either side of us with two seats. I was across from a middle-aged couple who were oblivious to the world. I never stared at them, but being in an enclosed space makes it hard not to notice some things. The man gave the woman a foot massage and then rubbed her back before they went to sleep. Their conversation seemed to fluidly move between German, English, Spanish and French... who knows what other languages I didn't notice. They had a bag full of fruit and ordered a vegetarian meal. They appeared to be very close, like people who were good friends as well as a couple. The woman seemed very sad, and broke into deep sobs twice and maybe that's why she's still in my mind. I prayed for her there on the plane and now, when I remember her.

On the other aisle across from Talia and my sister was another lady who seemed distant and tired. As the flight wore on, Talia was overstimulated and uncomfortable and having a hard time going to sleep. My sister, to give her something to do before trying to settle down again, got up to take her to the restroom. Talia tripped on something and hurt her toe. She tried to be big and hold the tears in, but couldn't help the tears that still came out, but she didn't vocalize it. We had told her to be as quiet as she could since many people were sleeping, and she did a really good job at it. The lady across from them saw the whole thing and when Talia came back she gave her a TootsieRoll Pop and Talia told her "Thank you." At that moment, it was exactly what Talia needed.

I know in my head that people are not always what their appearance portrays to me, but as a human, as a survival instinct, I still can't help but notice and perceive things about them through the filter of my experience. I think most of the reason why these snapshots are stuck in my head, is that they each were examples of humans acting out love in daily life. That's the kind of snapshot I don't mind remembering.


  1. That is so true and I love to hear stories of life like this. There are some very real and caring people in this world. I love to watch and observe too. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  2. It's so easy to overlook all of these simple expressions of care and kindness. I think because we expect that it should be this way all the time and it is easier to notice when it goes wrong and people are unkind. I recently had a conversation with a friend who was becoming overwhelmed with all the terrible things that people do to each other. By the end of the conversation, after counting up so many instances similar to the ones you shared, we determined that humanities' kindness still outweighs it's cruelty or even apathy.