Helping Out When We Can.
I'm going to Ireland in February, have the tickets but need a new passport. So I found myself stepping inside the passport office, ready to brave the endurance test. I was kinda proud of myself, thought I had everything done, everything in place with my application. I even thought I was in my 'zone'. I even came prepared, with water bottle and kindle,
It seems to me, that the government need to keep the folk repressed and docile by continuing to make the most used public offices - hell zones. You know, long lineups, not enough helpers, no fresh air, fluorescent lights and an atmosphere of resentment, frustration and boredom. We all have the 'learned helplessness' of putting up with it to some extent. It needs to change, but how?
Declaring 'Divine Order', I looked at the early morning lineup and sighed. Then I looked over and discovered the many people who had gotten through the lineup. They filled most of the chairs, and were waiting for their number to come up. I asked myself if I was committed to staying for at least two hours. I pondered if I could turn it into an exercise in self discipline for growing inner strength and focus. I would pray, do mantras and run some energy while waiting.
The commissionaire, at the check in here first desk, looked up from his crossroad puzzle at the water bottle I was holding. He told me I would have to put it in my bag and not drink from it. That was insane, my response immediately got my mouth going, "So you are saying I can bring my water bottle in here, but I can't drink from it."
He nodded yes.
"Well, that doesn't make any sense." Ok, I was loud enough for everyone to hear, but I did line shuffle to the back of the lineup to show my zen-like compliance to 'what was'. As I waited I looked around at parents shushing their children. I despaired at them stopping toddlers from touching the chairs, at youngsters pulling at the expandable straps that define the line on either side. Even trying to keeping infants shushed. Conditioning the children to react in fear and submission to the 'governmental authority' through shame and intimidation of such a place. Of course, no toys anywhere, or a little corner with a book or two. This was serious stuff, move that stroller out of the way, it doesn't belong by the lineup next to her mother, so said the commissionaire.
I became agitated and lost my serenity, ok, I admit it. Instead, I composed emails in my mind, imagined how it should be and held myself back from making comments to parents. I grew up on airforce bases where the Americans would come up and play war games against us. The sirens would go off and we all had to head to the rec centre to the shelter. Well, one time, when I was around 11, I decided not to go. No one could - or did make me. The fear of 'authority' seemed to scadaddle out of me from then on. So, I drank from my water bottle as I stood in line. But I urged myself to go deeper, I felt I was missing an urging from Spirit.
Then, I got it. What the lesson was for me. What I had to risk doing - saying.
To the father of the little year old boy who was testing out things, by pushing up the side of each post that held the line making ribbon, I said. " He's exploring, discovering very important things." I made soft eye contact showing approval and encouragement to the father and gave a big smile to the little boy who heard me talking.
It seemed to me, that everyone in the lineup relaxed a bit, and more than one or two affirming smiles to the father, seem to confirmed what I said. A little shift perhaps, yet one the father acted on, letting the boy simply be his age, as they continued to wait.
Meanwhile, after lining up for over an hour, I was finally at the window about to get my passport approved. Nope, i I found out that my wet fingers from partaking from my water bottle had smudged the signature on the back of my passport photo, so I couldn't use it. I managed to smile a bit over that.
Next time I go back, if I go back (might snail mail it instead,) I am taking some toys to give away to the kids.