How airports really connect us

How airports really connect us

It’s easy to believe that we’re surrounded by hate, mistrust, violence etc.  News reports often add the cute human or animal story at the end of their programs as an antidote to the poison they spread, but because it’s so clearly thrown in as the odd special interest story we don’t even consider that stories like the retired police officer who helps take care of orphan babies at night; the parents who took in refugees; or a neighbourhood coming together to save a pet etc. might actually be the norm that we live in.

Could it be that love is more dominant in the world than all the hate and violence we see in the news?  I think so, and there is one place you can see expressions of love every day.


At airports people express love with hugs, tears and words of acknowledgment.   Saying goodbye at an airport creates a compelling invitation to say “I love you” even if it’s not in so many words.  In departure lounges you can witness the long embraces, and tears of the emotionally expressive, or the awkward hug and the averted glassy eyes of the emotionally challenged.  The smiles and laughter in departure lounges often fail to mask the strain and sadness of imminent separation.

The smiles and laughter in arrival lounges are different though—stronger and more prolonged—as loved ones reunite.  The hugs and tears are from joy.

By evoking sadness and joy airports bring us closer by reminding us of what’s really important in life.  It’s not the job, or material things, it’s the people in our lives.

Love is all around us

The movie “Love Actually” opens with Hugh Grant’s character making a profound observation about love.  He said with all the stuff we think is so important to us, it’s really the people in our lives our relationships that matter most.  Of all the recorded conversations of people in the 2001 terrorist attack, none were about hate or revenge, or anything else for that matter save telling someone who mattered how much they were loved.

Airports are love catalysts

Airports are catalysts of love, or at least, expressions of love.  There’s something about seeing someone about to board an airplane that prompts you to say what you’ve never said before, or you don’t say often enough.  “I love you.”

Maybe it’s because the seeming impossibility of a 100-ton aircraft getting off the ground and landing safely thousands of miles away makes us acknowledge life’s fragility and that there really is no guarantee—plane flight or not—that we’ll be here tomorrow.  It works when we greet arrivals also.  Seeing a loved one emerge from an arrival hall ignites the mood of expectation we’ve been in since the flight touched down.  It’s another daily miracle and we’re so happy they’ve come back to us.

Two wolves

Our experience of life depends on what we focus our attention on, and whatever we give our attention to is reflected back in our experience of life.

It reminds me of the story of the wise old chief telling his son that within us there is a battle of two wolves: one is full of anger, fear, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.  The other is full of joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.  The grandson asked “Which wolf wins?”

The chief replied, “The one you feed.

You choose

There is much hatred and violence in the world, but so is there much love, peace and joy.  As Hugh Grant said in the clip above “love actually is all around.” You have it for sure in your home and with your friends, and so do most people you meet and see every day.  If you have any doubt just go look at how they cry, laugh and hug at your nearest airport. When you do, remember that we’re all doing the best we know to protect the people we love.


Any thoughts? Contributions/acknowledgments welcome.