The Kingdom of Heaven is Like…A Moving Sidewalk

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I love airports, which is handy since I frequent them lately. The refreshing Sabbath of anonymity that airports offer is an introvert’s heaven. One of my favorite airport accessories is the moving sidewalk. Sometimes I use it for speed; sometimes I use it to inhale between caffeine procurement and boarding the aircraft. I enjoy that I can zone out a bit yet still people watch. And, lest I zone out too much, the kind robot voice alerts me, “Caution! The moving sidewalk is ending.”

I appreciate the code of ethics of the moving sidewalk that is the stand right; walk left rule. I follow it, and therefore I believe everyone else should follow it, too. I get annoyed when people stand on the left and block the rest of us high-speed rule followers. It gets ugly when the happy moving sidewalk becomes a very narrow game of Tetris. I judge people (silently) for not following the rules, and so help them if they are also carrying multiple pieces of impractical luggage while blocking traffic.

That is unless there is an adult traveling with a child. If I see a parent/guardian attempting to wrangle a car seat, diaper bag, Cheerios, small child, sippy cup, and well-loved stuffed animal then all my judgey-ness goes out the window. They may well be the cause of moving sidewalk Tetris, but instead of rolling my eyes and attempting to pass them, I smile and offer to help. I always have antibacterial wipes (top 10 signs you’re Type A and work at a hospital) so I typically offer the parent/guardian a few, as inevitably someone has spilled, sneezed, or splattered. After all, wipes are a pretty harmless gesture in the Stranger Danger scenario.

It happened again as I was traveling a few days ago. I got judgey with the non-rule-following adult travelers, and two moving sidewalks later I was Mr. Rogers with a mom traveling with two kids. She was outnumbered, and not only braved the moving sidewalk, but also an adventure to the restroom. Once I realized we were all joining the restroom line, I preemptively handed her wipes for good measure and told her I was impressed by her skills. She thanked me and explained she had run out of wipes on the first flight after a turbulent apple juice mishap.

People watching  in airports constantly challenges me to be more patient. As I thought about moving sidewalk Tetris, I decided the Kingdom of Heaven resembles treating everyone with the same hospitality with which I treat families on moving sidewalks. If I went about the kingdom offering that kind of patience to those who aren’t juggling kids and luggage, I might be more grace-filled about whatever baggage they are carrying internally. I may not remove my ear buds or fully disclose my profession to my seat mate, but I do wish to step out of my judgey-frequent-traveling-only-child-self and be a more patient citizen of the kingdom.

Thankfully, wiping away every tear from every eye is Baby Jesus’ job, but I’m happy to join him in the hospitality of kingdom clean-up. One non-judgey moving sidewalk and antibacterial wipe at a time.

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