It seems regardless of how prepared we think we are, sometimes we aren’t prepared at all for what is to come.
Earlier this year, I embarked on a one day trip to Melbourne for an editing conference. With flights organised, I was to jam-pack a lot into one day, so my alarm was set the day before and so was everything I needed to take with me.
It started off well. The 4.30am alarm went off but I had beat the alarm and woken of my own accord. It seemed my mind was well alert to not missing that plane! The drive to my closest capital city airport was long and early but I made it, all with good time and caught the shuttle bus from my airport parking in perfect timing to allow myself plenty of time to check in and board my flight—all without breaking a sweat.
That is, of course, until I broke something else.
I’ll be fine!
Stepping out of the shuttle bus on my arrival at the airport, I slipped, whacked my toe somehow repeatedly on the concrete gutter, and though shards of pain shot through my foot, I gathered myself as best I could and continued on my way, throwing an “I’m fine” smile to an onlooker to alleviate her look of concern.
Within a few steps, my foot began to throb and my toe swelled up within my shoe. “I’ll be fine!” I told myself again, knowing I had a big day ahead of me. “It’s just bruised I’m sure.”
Within minutes, I had broken into a pretty definite limp and searched my bag for painkillers. Once on the plane, I managed to slip my shoe off and allowed the swelling to have it’s way. Getting that shoe back on, however, was another issue.
Regardless, I managed to limp through the day with the help of an ice pack, and then turn around at the end of the day to get myself back home.
The Melbourne airport is a big place, and I had never really realised how big it was until I found myself at the complete opposite end that I was supposed to be. Now with only 15minutes until I needed to be on that plane, I limped and winced from one end of the airport to the other. Never has plane seating felt so good! By the time I returned to Brisbane, I was not feeling my best.
I put on a brave face as I exited the plane and noticed the attendants looking at me a little strangely. Maybe the pain was evident in my facial expression? Or maybe it was my limp? Oh well. I continued on my way, not thinking too much about it, as all my efforts went in to controlling my tolerance of my sore toe.
Me, the crazy lady
By this time, the pain caused me to make a few stops at chairs on my walk through the airport and at one such stop, a lady looked at me pitifully. She tried to walk towards me but her husband pulled her back as if to say, “don’t go there, she looks like a crazy lady!!” Instead, she mouthed the words to me, “are you alright?” To which I smiled and said, “yes, I’ll be fine. I think I’ve just broken my toe. Thank you for asking.”
I thought her husband’s reaction was strange and wondered how crazy I actually looked, so I headed to the closest bathroom.
When I looked in the mirror, I now understood the reactions I was receiving. I literally scared myself! It seems that when I took the headphones from my head at the end of my flight, my hair had blown right out of place and was standing upright in the air. Of course people were horrified! I was horrified! I truly looked like a limping crazy lady with messy hair.
The visit to the doctor afterwards, confirmed my painful toe was not just broken—but broken in two places! I had good reason after all, to be feeling in so much pain. But through it all, it was the thoughtfulness of this one lady that stood out to me.
Thinking beyond ourselves
Of all the people I passed in the busy airport terminals, one lady stopped to see if I was okay. Was it something I expected? Not necessarily. People are busy in their own worlds, just as I was. But for this one woman, she reminded me of the good Samaritan.
To know that someone noticed that I may have not been in the best situation, and act on it, really was special in this day and age. It got me thinking, do I stop long enough to notice and to ask those around me, “are you alright?”
It was nice that someone cared. It was nice that someone asked. It was simple, but it meant a lot.
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” —Luke chapter 10 verses 36-37
Originally published for Christian Today Australia, November 2011