As we waiting in line at the Chennai airport, a family with three kids was ahead in line. It has been awhile since I have seen this much luggage associated with a single family! Suitcases, boxes, and oversized tubes were just the beginning. You need to add a large variety of knapsacks, handbags and multiple types of hand-carry items to the picture! In the limited space around us, as agents and others tried to help, it was chaos.
As the agent trying to check them in tried to make sense of it all, the small percentage of parent attention towards the children vanished. While the eight and ten year olds were reasonably in control, the five-year-old girl was anything but. From all outside appearances she was spoiled and out of control. Her two older siblings were behaving admirably, trying to help.
In contrast, the little girl was hitting, pulling, stomping, and sayings things that I thought only an adult would use in extreme conditions! This was a new combination of experienced sailor, out of control teenager, and petulant baby stuffed into the body of a child! As the seconds turned into minutes and metaphorical hours, I could see the echo of an old description; “Words gutter from his mouth, dishwater dirty. Can’t remember when he did anything decent.” (Psalm 36.3) It was ugly.
I kept waiting for someone to act. For the longest time, every action taken was a best a token move to control. Nothing worked. Things were getting uncomfortable for those in line, myself included.
As my patience ran thin and thinner, I realized the agent had finally succeeded in figuring out what was being checked in, including the passengers. As he handed out baggage claims, lounge passes, passports and tickets, I wondered what would come next.
Mom turned away and looked at her child, wildly out of control. With eyes of sadness and what appeared to be a tear, without a word she reached down and lifted child into her arms. Her gentle embrace triggered an extreme transformation.
Answers are not always obvious.