A few days ago I took my 11-year old daughter to our airport in Indianapolis. She was flying down to Florida to spend time with her grandparents. This would be her first flight on her own without mom or dad by her side.
She clutched my hand pretty tightly as we made out way through security and down to the gate she would be departing from. She was nervous and so was I. The gate attendant called her name and, in a moment’s notice, whisked her away leaving me barely enough time to say goodbye.
As she trotted down the ramp of the jetway she turned and smiled at me and waved goodbye. My eyes filled with tears. I sat down and waited for the plane to leave, the whole time wiping my face and trying not to let on to other passengers that I was a ball of emotion.
A half hour later I began the long walk to my car. As I did, I thought a lot about life and family. Call it being in the moment of emotion, or a little distraught having just said goodbye to my youngest daughter, I’m not sure. I think it was just one of those moments where reflection and sentiment led the way in my heart.
I walked slowly, taking in the moment. I thought about how deeply I loved that kid, as I watched her plane leave the earth. I would lay my life down for her no matter what. And then, as if I stepped back in time in that terminal, I passed the small bistro table next to the Starbucks where, 2 and half years ago, we sat with some of our best friends and shared the news that we were pregnant for the first time. We lost the child 2 weeks later.
That slow walk to my car produced a wellspring of thought in me greater than any retreat or quiet moment in the early morning. I thought about how life, while hard and treacherous at times, is so good. I thought about my family and how desperately in love with them I am, even though we could kill each other at times! 🙂
Life doesn’t stop.
Just like the flow of airline traffic and stressed out passengers off to their next business meeting in another city, life just doesn’t stop. The pain of losing a child through miscarriage in 2011 didn’t allow life to stop on us. Of course we had the choice to stop living, but what good would that have done? We had to keep going. Why? Because life is full of ups and downs and the Lord above knew that new challenges would present themselves. To keep living the life He gave us, regardless of circumstances, means renewed strength to fight the next battle, and the next after that.
You have to keep moving.
If you stop in the middle of a busy terminal 3 things will undoubtedly happen- 1- You will get run over. 2- People will be really ticked at you. Or, 3- You will miss your flight. If we stop moving, life will pass us by. Our children will grow and we will miss it. Opportunities will move on to someone else who is ready for the challenge.
It is what you make it.
Your airport experience is what you make it. If you are stressed out and flustered that is what your experience will be. If you are calm and prepared, taking each challenge as it comes, your experience will be much more delightful. Family is like that too. If we allow stress and frustration to always dictate us, that is what family will become. If we lean on peace, even when a storm rages, family will represent refuge and a steady presence, even in the midst of a storm.
I love my family.
Boy oh boy do I. Watching my daughter walk down that jetway confirmed it for me. As I sat in the terminal, drying tears, I reflected on the truth that you simply do not realize how deep your heart goes until you have children. I love each of mine and my wife more than words can express!
All this from a brief experience in our city’s airport a few days ago. I didn’t even tell you about being pulled aside by a TSA K-9 unit for questioning…. another post for another day I suppose!
What lessons have you been taught (or reminded of) lately about family, or life?