This morning, while making my way through the airport, I yielded to a group of very happy people. The plane had just arrive, delivering the passengers to family, friends, loved ones and limo drivers. It appeared that each person who had deplaned had at least a small army waiting to hug, kiss, and hug a little more……happiest group of people I have ever seen.
As I exited to the curb, I saw a very different scene. People were clinging tightly to those they loved, tears were flowing, emotions were running high. These were the people that were leaving…departing…..saddest group of people…….
But you know, just as those arriving were lavished with such love and excitement, they too had stood at the departure curb; leaving behind those who would miss them, evidenced by the flowing tears and tight hugs. It’s just a normal process of the journey….depart, arrive, change course, depart, arrive…….Those sending the travelers on their way are sad to see their loved ones go……those waiting for them to arrive, are thrilled and anxious, eagerly awaiting….
Each day at work, I notice the decline of the dementia patients. I listen to them, as they look for their mother or father. They seem excited, knowing that their father is coming for them after work. One lady sits at the door, every day at 4 pm. She is waiting for her husband, Russ, to pick her up after he picks up their children from school. They each are anticipating and excited.
Then there is Willie, and others like him. He tells me each day of his wife’s passing. He is overcome with sadness; tears flowing uncontrollably.
” She’s gone. I will never see her again. I miss her”. It is heartbreaking.
Another fellow asks every day if I have seen his wife. he answers the question himself, stating that “maybe she is at our daughter’s house. I will sit here and wait for her.
Departures. There is something final about the word itself. But you know, nothing compares to the pain and anguish of losing someone, forever………..
We explain death to young children by saying “grandma is in heaven now, with pop-pop. They are happy now that they are together again.” The explanation creates the in the mind’s eye, the exact scene at the airport when jets arrive…..people are reunited.
As a Christian myself, I too ,believe in the beauty of Heaven; a place filled with eternal love, joy and reunions. I believe all of the people that I have loved so deeply are waiting for me there, anticipating my arrival. I, too, will be thrilled to see my family, and friends again and have eternity to celebrate those people.
Yet, when that day does happen, it will be sad for my friends and family left behind…….
The journey of life is constantly changing as we all age. But if we could learn one thing…..our lives would be so much more fulfilled. We need to value the time we have with each other on this earth….because we will depart one day. We need to spend more time with those we love. We need to spend more days in the park, than we do behind the desk. We need to hug our kids, kiss our parents and show those we love, just how much we love them by our actions. So our houses may be a little dusty, laundry may get backed up, a few bills may be late, but when we do arrive at our departure gate, at least we won’t leave this earth filled with regrets.
As I stepped on the elevator to the parking garage, I squeezed in with a husband and his wife. She was leaning into his chest, tears staining his shirt. I could not help but look away as he tried to console his wife.
” Honey, she is going to be fine. We have to be happy for her. I miss her too. She is going to be okay, I know she will.”
I think he noticed me, standing there, staring a hole into the floor. He leaned over to me, offering a kind smile as he whispered:
” Our daughter just left for a 4 week mission trip to Africa. We are just worried”.
Before I could reply, the ding of the elevator announced my floor. I smiled back at them, explaining that I would remember their daughter in my prayers…hoping they could find a some comfort .
As I walked away, I thought about this young lady, embarking on a trip of a lifetime. She will have stories to tell for the rest of her life about her journey, the people she met, the mission she shared and the beauty she saw. What a happy to time for her, yet a sad, worrisome day for her parents.
Life is a continual process………arriving……departing……..each day that passes, we are closer to arriving at our own departure gate, but until then…….. buckle up, sit back and enjoy the ride!!!!!!!!