I love traveling for many reasons. Most of all, I love people watching.
I love sitting in the terminal, mindlessly watching people as I sip on a cup of coffee. The business man rushing to catch his flight, the high school basketball team joyfully talking about the tournament they just dominated, the couple arguing as their toddler puts them through a midlife crisis, the newlyweds gazing into each others eyes not having a care in the world.
I just love people watching. It’s as if for a moment, I have the opportunity to escape my reality and enter someone else’s. Either that or I’m just a creep, but either way, I love it.
As I arrived to the Louisville Airport I had the same intentions in mind. It was a normal day. I didn’t realize that within moments I would be angry, confused, hurt and clinging to God, all because of one person.
The time came for me to check my bags and head to my gate. I went through all of the dramatic security measures. Emptying my purse and computer bag, clearing my pockets, taking off my shoes and belt. I was in my own little world. I noticed the frail elderly woman in front of me fumbling through her belongings, agitating those around us who were in a clear hurry. She turned to me and mumbled timidly that she had never flown before.
I quietly helped her take off her shoes and clear her purse of the items designated on the flashing screens above us. Out of curiosity I asked where she was headed and she physically fell into my arms.
In the middle of airport security, I became the arms of Jesus.
Through tears she told me her name was Della and she didn’t know what to do.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“My only son and his wife and three kids live up North and they were in…. a fire…. last night….” I just held her until she was ready to continue. “My son and all three babies passed away…. his wife…. she’s in a coma. She doesn’t even know what has happened yet.” The sound of Della’s deep sobs filled the crowded room.
In that moment, my heart broke in a million pieces, right alongside Della’s.
God why the hell would you let this happen?
Why couldn’t they get out in time?
Why do you let horrible things happen to good people?
Why why why.
My thoughts were interrupted as I looked over and saw Della searching for her inhaler… she was not only emotionally breaking but physically too. She looked at me with a pure innocence and brokenness and asked if I would lead her to her gate.
I grabbed her suitcase and ticket and we were on our way.
I asked if she needed anything…through her sobs she said she was okay.
I wanted to rewind and make it go away. I wanted her heart to be healed. I wanted her family to be alive and well. But in reality, I clearly couldn’t make that happen. Although I was angry at God, all I could think to do was to hold Della and cry out to him.
“God, please hold her in this time…” is all I could mumble. I knew that it hurt. I knew the pain wouldn’t vanish in just one day. “…Hold her…”
She smiled and thanked me.
“He’s the only thing that will get me through this” She said.
That phrase chilled me to the bone. In the midst of her pain and anger, confusion and hurt, she depended solely on his strength.
My plane was leaving soon so we started our goodbyes. As I walked away I still felt that confusion but I had peace.
I know that in that moment God was pleased that we handed him our broken hearts, despite our anger and confusion.
I don’t know where Della is today, but I have faith that he is holding her heart.
This life is crazy and confusing. I don’t know the answers but I do know that God is so good.
I know that despite our brokenness–he is whole.
I know that when we feel the farthest and most abandoned– he is holding us closer than we can fathom.
Have you been through a season of brokenness that you thought would never end? We would love to hear about it.