The Great Tragedy of Divorce

Last Saturday as I waited to board my Midway flight to Seattle, a heartbreaking scene unfolded outside the gate entrance. As I conversed on a phone call, my eyes beheld a young boy clinching his father's jacket, bawling and sobbing despondently. Upon processing the scene, I suddenly became cognizant of the situation.

The dad, slightly greasy and decored with an array of tatoos and sleazy outdoorsmen garments, clearly emanated the "incompetent father" appeal. Seemingly indifferent to incompleteness, his emotional aroma smelled more of mere melancholy than actual devastation. Perhaps time and unseen circumstances had numbed the grief.

As I watched tears stream down his son's face, I couldn't help but crack. The pure yet raw emotion of the instant combined to produce a snapshot in time I can (and will) never forget.

Moments later, as I searched for a window seat on board, there was the boy, only a few rows in front of me. I heard a flight attendant utter his name: "Sam." Apparently the flight attendants were made aware of the situation, given he was the youngest solo passenger on the plane.

Passing Sam by, he appeared stunned, glued to the back of his seat, with eyes still bloodshot and overcome. At that point, my attempt to role reverse with Sam backfired, as my aqueduct reservoirs finally gave way.

"God, I hate divorce. I hate it, I hate it, hate it," was all I could mumble to myself.

With such an unfamiliar burden had taken 30 minutes to reach "overwhelming status", I gently pushed my seat back and began to drift.

An hour later, I woke up from my brief interlude to find an astonishing sight. Cruising by the aisles was Sam, who evidently had decided to assist one of the flight attendants in serving snacks to the rest of the passengers. In the blink of an eye, Sam had completely changed - his attitude, emotions, his entire demeanor. Perhaps Sam was reminded of something positive awaiting him back home or maybe he was the recipient of a encouraging word helping him refocus the hurt. Who knows.

The point is that Sam's rapid conversion was nothing short of inspiring. No matter what the conditions were, for a young boy to flip the switch in such a fashion, having just left a father whom he loved dearly with a heavy heart to now serving strangers on a plane in such a selfless manner, it's so incredibly rare.

No doubt Jesus was manifesting Himself through the actions of that little boy. In short time, my despise for divorce transitioned to a thankful praise, knowing we all have a choice to respond righteously to injustice and sin, to abuse and inequality, to oppression and prejudice.

How often do we retaliate in anger when we are legitimately the victim of an abominable ordeal? Or how frequently do we succumb and hide in fear, allowing our entitlement for security to operate our will?

Without question, Sam ended up "owning" a lot of people on that plane, including myself. He easily earned his wings in my book for rising over the great tragedy of divorce so that he could generously give of himself, his time, his smile, and his heart.

Three hours later, the plane landed and my foot finally touched Washington territory. Walking a few paces behind Sam out of the tunnel, I noted the skip in his step as he scampered to his mother. The real Sam had arrived.

And though he might be the middle man in a troublesome separation for years to come, God used him to remind me (and others) how to rightfully conquer and overcome adversity in times of great sorrow.

God bless you, Sam.


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