Several years ago, I was at our small airport getting in line for security when I saw a soldier saying goodbye to his wife and young daughter. Both the wife and daughter were crying, but for very different reasons. The wife was crying because her husband was going away to do a very dangerous job from which he might not return. The daughter was crying because she was confused by what was happening. The soldier was not crying, but instead doing his best to comfort his family as he said goodbye. It was a heart-wrenching sight to behold, and I had an instant admiration and respect for this guy who was holding it together under conditions where even the strongest of men would break down in tears.
Smiling and waving goodbye to his wife and daughter who were across the room, the soldier walked through the metal detector and handed his boarding pass to the TSA Agent on the other side. I was next in line and followed him through. As we were waiting for our stuff to exit the X-ray machine, the soldier dropped his boarding pass but didn't seem to notice. I picked it up, and said "excuse me, you dropped this" as I handed it back to him. It was then I saw why he had dropped it... his hands were shaking. He said a quick thanks before gathering his gear and moving on.
It was a moment that kind of put it all into perspective for me.
So now, when I see people losing their shit because their flight has been delayed or canceled or whatever... it's pretty hard for me to be sympathetic when I think about a soldier who managed to keep his shit together as he was leaving his family to travel somewhere far from home where he might die.
Tonight as I was waiting to see if my flight would get out of Seattle (spoiler alert: it didn't) I saw plenty of people being complete asstards because their vacation and/or holiday had been ruined. There's crying. There's screaming. There's yelling. There's all kinds of dumbassery from people being generally stupid.
All when they should be thankful just to be alive and safe.
Heaven knows I try to be.
And tomorrow I try again.