I sit in Starbucks sipping my Venti Chai Tea Latte and observing people at the Charlotte, North Carolina airport on my way to Liberty University. Even amongst the chaos of people running to try to catch their next fight or scrambling to find enough change to buy a quick snack, there is a peace. Everyone has their own agenda and their own purpose for being here and everyone has their own story that makes them unique. Some people may be starting a new adventure, or even a new chapter in their life, while other people may be ending an adventure. You can learn a great deal simply by simply sitting still and observing those around you. Often we get caught up in our world and what we are doing and we forget to appreciate others.
On my way to this spot I encountered a woman. She worked in the airport bathroom, but she did not seem tired or upset to be there. Every person who walked into the bathroom she greeted with joy, directing them to the nearest empty stall with such enthusiasm you would think you just won the lottery. Her tip jar by the door was overflowing with change because she took joy in a job that many of us would be embarrassed to have or ashamed to do.
There is the woman with dark skin and her hair pulled back into a ponytail working behind the counter dealing with frustrated customers, grateful customers, and even some seemingly deaf customers to whom she has to repeat herself at least four times in hopes of them finally hearing. Throughout the entire thing she must maintain composure, not letting it show that there is probably a million other places she would rather be. For her, this is simply a daily routine.
I shift my attention over to my right and lay eyes on a businessman who, like me, is sitting in Starbucks with a laptop open in front of him. He is clothed in a blue and white-checkered button down, blue jeans, and sneakers. He is waiting. He tries to focus yet every couple of seconds he glances up and looks around. His distraction extends further as he reaches into his right pocket to check his phone. He does this consistently, most likely either checking the time or waiting for information from someone else. He stares at his computer for a couple more minutes looking frustrated before packing up his charger and laptop. After one last glance at his laptop screen he gets up and moves on from his spot in the airport.
For me, today is a beginning- an opportunity to go and visit a college that I may want to spend the next four years attending. The person that I am right now, sitting here, is probably somebody slightly different from the person that I will be a couple weeks or even a couple of days from now.
It is important to take time out of our own busy lives to observe others and learn from their actions. By observing others we can learn many things: how to be grateful for what we have and the opportunities we receive, an understanding that not everyone is in the same place we are, and that everyone has their own story.