Last night, I witnessed a tiny slice of ‘heaven.’
“Every parting is a form of death, as every reunion is a type of heaven.” ~Tryon Edwards
I’m not fond of flying any more, but if I’m not the one traveling, I do appreciate people watching at the airport. Last night, our oldest daughter flew in from the Deep South for an exciting event and will spend the weekend with us.
Hubby and I made the trip to the city airport to meet her, and as is always our custom, we arrived early. Upon entering the building, we found a spot to park ourselves near the arrival escalators so we could catch sight of her right away and she could find us easily. As we waited for her plane to land, I watched comings and goings because there were many flights arriving, even at the late hour of the night.
And there were scads of folks waiting to pick someone up – people of all shapes and sizes, colors and ages, young and old, casually dressed and professional. I noticed the chauffeurs attired in white shirts, black suits and ties displaying placards marked with passengers’ names. I wondered what their jobs must be like, waiting in airports at 11:30 at night to meet a stranger and driving that person to whatever destination was necessary. I speculated about whether they chat with their fare, or just drive and allow some privacy.
My attention then turned to others as they waited for family members, friends, spouses, or other loved ones. There is something quite tender about watching people reunite with those they adore. Those waiting tend to glance at their watches often as they anticipate arrival time. Cell phones ring or vibrate with text messages as the awaited one sends news “Just landed!”
As the throngs of disembarked passengers start descending the escalators from the gate, those who wait arise from their seats anxious to catch a glimpse of their loved one. I observed a young teenage girl, who appeared to be with her father, practically skipping by us with happiness. I heard her exclaim to her dad, “I’m SOOO excited! I can’t wait!” She positioned herself impatiently at the bottom of the moving stairs with eager expectation and shrieked with joy when she greeted her friend.
Moments later, a little girl with long, flowing hair dashed away from her mother and sprinted to an older lady – Grandma! Grandma’s face erupted in sheer delight as she spied her beloved grandchild. The girl practically leapt into the lady’s arms! The joy they shared as they hugged each other so tightly evoked such a heartwarming scene, I felt that feeling wash over me that signals I’m going to cry. Not wanting to appear over emotional watching complete strangers, I managed to subdue it. But it occurred to me that the joy of reunion with a loved one is so very sweet, a little bit like heaven.
An older, white-haired couple left their seats and ambled towards the arriving mass of humanity. A woman in her 40’s started waving enthusiastically on the descending stairs. She greeted the older couple with warm hugs and kisses, while the man accompanying her stood slightly back almost like he wasn’t sure where his place belonged in this family reunion. All of a sudden, the older gentleman reached towards the man and grabbed him in a heartwarming bear hug. The embraced man grinned ear to ear and joined the family circle. His body language told me that he felt welcomed and accepted as the foursome moved toward baggage claim.
A middle-aged Mom waited with a white furred fluffy dog in her arms. I wondered what her story might be and the answer soon arrived. Her college-aged young adult daughter hurried to greet her mother and smother her pet with hugs and kisses. The dog, in turn, was just as excited to see his mistress.
Another endearing story soon unfolded. A young woman with a baby girl in a stroller caught my eye. The woman was dressed in a lovely dress and high heels and baby girl was outfitted in a frilly dress as well. I thought to myself, “Wow, why would you dress up like that to pick someone up at the airport?” She paced back and forth pushing her stroller, obviously anxious for the arrival of someone.
Suddenly, she grabbed her baby out of the stroller and started running in her heels towards the crowd. I turned my head that direction and that’s when I saw him. The soldier, dressed in camos, maybe coming home from deployment, swerved around people who were slower, people who had stopped to greet their families, people in his way.
The three of them – soldier, beautiful wife and adorable baby girl – met in a rush of emotion, intense embraces and the utter joy of reunion. That scene taking place directly in front of me, moved me to near tears. Watching their circle of three united in the strongest emotion a human can feel, utmost love, is a scene I shall never forget.
Of course, my favorite reunion was the one hubby and I experienced when our dear oldest child, now such a poised and confident young lady, disembarked from the moving staircase and the three of us also embraced in a circle of love. And I wanted to cry, but there was good news to share and much to discuss as we whisked her off to the parking lot to begin our journey home.
“Where we love is home,
Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Homesick in Heaven
This morning, it’s Chapter 7, Page 8, in my Opportunity book, and I am compelled to share my story because I think home really is where our hearts are, and there is nothing so endearing as coming home to the ones we love.