The movie “Love Actually” opens with a montage of arrivals at the airport. The voiceover states that if you are ever feeling shaky about the power of love, all you have to do is visit the airport and witness the love that is very real and very out in open in the reunions taking place there.
I’ve always enjoyed people watching at the airport and I remember the days prior to 9/11 when loved ones could accompany you all the way to your gate and be there to welcome you back. Now we have to wait until we get to the baggage claim to hug and kiss and cry.
International terminals are the best. The people are coming from a long way and the parties may not have seen each other in a long time. Ah, the joy! It’s palpable.
Airport scenes do affirm our emotional connection. I have gotten teary witnessing strangers. Some things are just part of the human experience.
We are all connected. I get that on some levels, and there are days when that makes no sense. I can sit at airport gate waiting to board and not feel any bond between me and my fellow travelers. However, if that plane were to start to go bump in the night, you can bet those strangers would create connection.
Tragedy brings us together. 9/11 is a great example. Never were we more willing to do anything for strangers, because in that instant, we were one. Our fellow man was a loved one.
The school shootings at an elementary school bind us together for that moment in time. Our collective heart weeps for every child and for every parent. Their pain is our pain.
I recently attended a visitation of a young man who died at age 23. His father is a co-worker of my husband. I didn’t know this family, yet my emotions were real and raw. To see the baby pictures, the cousins at Christmas time pictures, the toothless grins of growing up, and the cap and gown photos, the wellspring of loss and grief bubbles up to overwhelm.
The universal mommyheart cries for the pain the parents and grandparents feel to not have their beloved boy here anymore. We don’t have to know someone to feel their suffering. In those moments, we are all connected.
The human experience is full of many mysteries. How one day I can feel deep and utter compassion and kinship to strangers and the next day sit in a fast food joint and think that people are just plain weird is part of life. To see past the weirdness and the differences is the key.
Imagine I were sitting there eating my cheeseburger and fries making comments in my head about the oddfellows around me. The next minute a bus crashes into the building or a gunman enters or the building catches on fire. I know in my heart of hearts, that all we oddfellows would help each other any we can.
Humans give their lives to save strangers. Why? Because deep down, we understand that we are all connected.
We don’t live our daily lives always operating on that level. Maybe we don’t have to. I don’t have to hug and thank every person I see on the street, but I can smile and make eye contact and honor that they too are a person just like me, awash in the mystery.
That may be enough. When tragedies occur, we help each other. We bond. We are all connected, and love is all around us. No airport emotional scenes required.
(Kelly Epperson Simmons is an author/speaker/coach who helps people birth their books. Visit www.kellyepperson.com or call toll free 888-637-3563.)