I’m a people watcher. So it was no problem for me that I had over an hour to sit and wait at my gate before taking off to Arizona.
If you’ve flown lately you know that as the airline counter person is calling groups to board, one of the first groups invited to board is military personnel in uniform. As that call was made, a young man walked toward the counter from behind where I was sitting. He checked in and took a few steps toward the long tunnel that led to the plane. Then he stopped, turned around and gave a come here wave. Immediately three people moved towards him: a woman, a man, and a boy. The woman appeared to be his mother, the man (I then assumed) was dad or step-dad, and the boy, his little brother.
He first reached out to the boy. Initially there was some of that guy-like arm bumping, but it was quickly replaced by some hugging and words spoken directly into the boy’s ear. It wasn’t a long transaction, but it was so touching that I felt myself getting choked up and my eyes filled with tears.
The two separated and the woman stepped over. Their embrace was the most touching thing I’ve seen since I can remember. She held him tightly and then prayed out loud for him. As with the boy, he spoke softly right into her ear. Then they just stood there hugging, rocking back and forth, back and forth, both of them crying—and me right along with them.
When they finally separated, he shook the man’s hand, turned, and walked down the gangway. As he disappeared the three left behind stood there briefly, holding each other in a kind of group hug, and then they turned and walked away as well.
I’m not sure where the young soldier was going, but it was away, and given the tears, I’m thinking it was into battle and harm’s way. I wondered how someone could do that. I was immediately grateful for his service and prayed a prayer of protection for him and peace for his family.
As I prayed, I was reminded that God did just that: for God so loved that he gave his son, that while we were yet sinners (and unknowing of our need) his son died for us all, for we have all sinned and are in need of one to save us. And I was thank-full all over again.
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8