Years ago, before all of the multi layered security and traffic restrictions, it was common to see someone off at the airport. There would be tearful hugs at the gate, joyful reunions as loved ones emerged from an arriving flight, and all of the more mundane hellos and goodbyes in-between. Whole plots of movies and books turned on the just-missed departure, or the drama of a final boarding call.
It’s been so long since this tradition has been able to be practiced in the United States that I’d almost forgotten about it. But on my outbound flight to Japan recently, the entire airline team from Logan lined up on the tarmac to wave farewell. Though I’d only met the check-in agents for a moment or two, it was such a touching sight that tears sprang to my eyes.
For the following week, every doorway I entered came with a warm personal greeting. Every departure I made included an expression of thanks and goodwill. Not once invisible. Not once unwelcome.
How lovely to be bidden farewell. How heartwarming to be greeted. How much we lose when these tiny rituals are deleted.
Dear ones, though the TSA might limit us, our arrivals and departures are worthy of notice.
Let us be welcome guests, wherever we may be.
Let us welcome others in return.