Living a few thousands miles from most travel destinations means hours in transit from one city to another. Airline miles accumulate as I savor Chickfila in Houston and give thanks for complementary cookies with a sandwich in Denver, and skim through the United app for gate numbers.
I join the travelers busily making their way through terminals, wheels clicking along walking pathways. Everyone is trying to make a connection. Honolulu to Denver to Dallas. Honolulu to LAX to St. Louis. Indianapolis to Denver to Honolulu.
Amidst all the connecting, I can’t help but notice a disconnect. As we sit sit in uncomfortable vinyl seat aimlessly scrolling through our phones, we’re careful to leave a few seats between ourselves, all waiting to hear the call:
“We’ll now begin pre-boarding, would all travelers with a disability, children under the age of two, or military personnel in uniform please come forward.”
Connection is what we crave. We’ve been made for it. From the beginning of time it’s been said, “It’s not good for man to be alone.” I see its truth as the couple next to me holds hands, a tragic memoir of love lost unfolds on my Kindle, and I anticipate a hug upon landing.
Sometimes though our need for connectedness leaves us broken, as we look for it in all the wrong places. A pink heart on Instagram. A thumbs up on Facebook. A swipe left or right. The list goes on.
How often do we stop the scrolling, look-up, and see how opportunities to connect surround us in the wonder of our world?
Last month, I sat in Denver, put away my phone and grabbed my eclipse glasses. I made my way over to a mother and a son standing along the expanse of glass and looked-up alongside them as the moon partially crossed the sun. I passed my glasses to a girl my age. “My dad told me about it,” she told me. “My dad gave me the glasses,” I said. Together, we marveled at creation as nearby travelers nearby took selfies wearing their glasses too.
Last week, again I sat in the Denver airport, I listened as two strangers shared how they preferred family time over following football, how the younger of the men had a wife and four kids he loved in the Dakotas and how he was on his way to the Philippines to help out his brother who is a missionary there. I admired their connection over just two minutes of conversation, how easily and naturally the Gospel news was shared.
We’ve been made for those moments: the sharing of wonder, the partaking of food, the back and forth of storytelling. And while I don’t have any airline connections to make for a few months, the challenge remains: Where must we disconnect to connect? Where is there connection to make in the midst of the commonplace?