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Diffusing the Darkness

“Now boarding flight 479. Initial boarding has begun.” I sling my trusty backpack onto my shoulder, as over loaded with stuff as it is, grab my cup of tea and head over to check in for my flight.

I find myself standing in what I believe to be the line, only for both me and the woman in front of me to realize it isn't. So, we both walk over to get in the actual line.

Then the woman who walks with me stops and asks me to go ahead.

“Are you sure?” I ask. There was something in her tone that made me question her sincerity.

“Yes. I have to wait for my husband.” She then gives me a, shall we say, less than polite look and adds in a snarky tone, “Besides, you’re clearly in a hurry.”

Genuinely confused, I say rather sheepishly, “I’m not actually. You can both go ahead.”

“Just go!” she snaps. And I realize there is something more going on in this moment that I don’t understand.

At a loss for words, I simply say with as much kindness as I can muster, “Have a blessed morning” and pass ahead of her. Mostly because I truly don’t know what else to say. I mean, wow.

As I grab my seat, the flight attendant appears to be having a rough morning. Like she would rather be anywhere but here. She directs people with condescension, like everyone should just know what she does about how to load the overhead bins on a plane. Honestly, it’s kinda weird, this convergence of unkindness. Welcome aboard.

I chat with the person beside me, a quiet man with kind eyes, and we both agree. People are just grumpy lately. On the road, in the grocery store, even at church sometimes. It’s like everyone is perpetually on a short string, ready to snap at the smallest provocation.

Is it a hangover from Covid? A byproduct from the strife and dissension we constantly see on the news? Global warming? Who knows!

I think back on a past conversation. You know the kind - the words that linger for years because the truth you hear is so profound. I had been b