Airports were a destination for our family’s Friday night fun when I was a child, specifically the Greater Pittsburgh International Airport. Greater Pittsburgh International Airport was built in 1952. As we drove towards the airport in the evening, we would catch a glimpse of the fountain of colored lights which pointed skyward even as the colors were reflected in the shallow pool of water installed in 1963. It was marvel to behold!
We’d park the car, and enter the lobby which featured a terrazzo compass on the floor. Even as I think about that lobby, the scent of fresh popped popcorn and cotton candy wafts towards me. Back in those days, the promise of getting to purchase a snack, if I behaved myself was a strong motivation to be good.
We could step onto the escalators and make our way to one of the many observation decks, like giant balconies open to the air. We’d watch the planes take off and land, imagining all the places those planes might go. We would even wave as each plane began to taxi onto the runway, certain that. the passengers could see us and wave back.
Somewhere along the way, even before the days of airport security, the thrill of the place lost its shine, as I had the privileged opportunity to become a “Frequent Flier.” Spending 15 years in Hawaii, flying and airports lost any last shimmer of glamour. They became a holding place to be endured, even if located somewhere I’d never been before and most likely would never visit.
There are times, these days, when it feels as though I am waiting in an airport terminal, not where I began, not yet at my destination. There are delays, gate changes, updates to new estimated departure times, and frequent storms which interfere with my itinerary. I am so intent on getting “there” that I stop being “here.” C.S. Lewis said something that calls me back to the holiness and sacredness of the present moment. “The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life — the life God is sending one day by day.”
I desire this day to welcome the holy interruptions that ARE life. ~ Anne
*The above is fact and not fiction. It occurred long before September 11, 2001, long before airport security, or TSA check-points, in a time when anyone could walk into an airport, when you could go all the way to the gate to greet a family member returning from a trip, or to say good bye to someone departing to adventures in other places.