I’m an excited little kid when I go to an airport. Always have been. I could watch those big beautiful jets take off all day.
But sometimes, while I’m waiting for a flight, I’m struck by the poignancy of what’s going on around me. It seems like an airport is a fitting metaphor for this life. A strange assortment of people thrown together for a limited time. A continual stream of comings and goings.
Some fly first class, with designer luggage and access to fancy lounges and the front of the line. Others are traveling on a shoestring, with duct-taped duffle bags, discount-store snacks, and no frequent flyer accounts.
Some zoom confidently down the concourse chatting on their smartphones, while others shuffle nervously along, worried and out of their element, checking and double-checking gate numbers and flight monitors and crumpled paper boarding passes.
Some travel light. Others are weighed down by
So. Much. Baggage.
Sometimes we get separated from our stuff and our people. Weather and physics and history intervene: flights get cancelled and the best-laid plans get scrapped.
Sometimes we miss a critical connection and end up stuck in one place for a long time.
Some of us guardedly retreat into neck pillows and earbuds, while others walk in wide-eyed wonder and lean into conversations with potential new friends.
In the airport of your life, what concourse or jetway are you on right now? Maybe it looks like a corporate office or a grocery line or a waiting room. Stop and take in your fellow travelers. Especially the ones who seem most different from you. Soften your gaze and heart for a moment.
Where do you imagine they’re coming from or going to? What stamps do their passports hold? What routes have they traveled? What happy reunions, tearful farewells, hopeful new adventures, difficult missions, and bedside vigils lie behind and before them? Always, always, the comings and the goings.
Whisper a prayer. Silently wish them bon voyage―a good journey.
Wait. What was that? Did they just call your flight?
Is it already time to leave?