Traveling allows me to do one of my favorite things – people watch. Airports are amazing places to people watch, better than a mall, better than an amusement park. As I sit at my gate I watch the parade of people move by. I wonder about where they are going and why they are going there. Yes, it is the holidays, but are they going to see family, visit friends, just get away? My mind wanders and I conjure up crazy stories about who they are and what type of person they may be. I obviously have an active imagination.
While I’m busy feeling sorry for the woman with the child that has just had enough and is melting down, my eyes are drawn to a woman wearing a burka. While everyone I have been watching remains a mystery to me, my head is now full of assumptions and beliefs about her life. I then look across at the opposing gate and there is a woman standing in a simple cotton dress with a bonnet covering her neatly pinned bun. A man passes wearing his yarmulke. Sadly, I make assumptions about who these people are and what they are like because of what they wear out of custom or tradition. For some reason, I seem to think I know more about them then the hundred other people who have passed me. I know as much about them as they do about me…nothing.
This was a great lesson for me. I need to be more open-minded. The burka, bonnet, and yarmulke are only pieces of the person. There is always more than what meets the eye.
By Wendy Huber