Life can make a person pretty cynical, if we’re not careful. Turn on the news and hear about abductions, terrorist attempts and people murdering their ‘loved ones’ – it’s enough on any given day to make you question where we are going as a society. Many people say they don’t watch the news anymore because it’s too depressing, and I understand that, we take a break from it from time to time for the same reason. And then I get to take a ride to the airport to pick up someone who has flown into town just to visit us, and my faith in humanity is restored!
If you’re feeling particularly bitter about the human race, go to the Baggage Claim area of your local airport. Order a cup of coffee and sit for a while and watch the people. You will witness grand hugs with shouts and tears, and tentative hellos with awkward beginnings and everything in between, sometimes you’ll get to watch a returning soldier being enfolded back into a family. But most consistent of all, you will see smiles and true connections, even just for a second. Real people welcoming others into their circle.
I also like to watch people say goodbye at the airport curb, usually the words have all been said and there is a hurry to avoid getting yelled at by the police officer to move it along. But again, smiles, eye contact, connection. I drive away with a warm feeling because of the visit that just happened, but also because of the energy of those around us, experiencing something similar. We are made for community, to connect with others even though it can be messy and hard. I like to think of those airport hugs and kisses as a precursor to heaven someday, with loved ones shouting and hugging, welcoming each other home.