Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Arriving On A Jet Plane

Let me begin with the postscript. I often title these posts after famous songs. I switched this one around to fit, but something in me gets sorta choked up every time I hear "Leaving On A Jet Plane," written by John Denver and made famous in the sixties by Peter, Paul and Mary. "Don't know when I'll be back again. Oh, babe, I hate to go..."

Fortunately, there's another side to these sagas and that's what we saw yesterday. Planes were filled with people on their way to see loved ones for the holiday. Upon arriving in Providence, we had a few minutes to wait before we left the airport. In that time, Cathy and I got to watch the beauty and the drama as families greeted each other.

One young mom arrived with her little boy -- a toddler with not-quite-secure steps. He held his mother's hand, fell, and got back up unscathed. Looking just past them, we saw grandma, down on her haunches with arms outstretched. Her excited smile said it all! His return "who is this lady?" look told us she would need to crank up the charm to win the little guy over. No doubt they're "best buds" by now.

We saw another young mom and her beautiful little girl waiting for someone and never got to observe that reunion. But about the same time, we saw a young couple greet what looked like the young man's grandparents. Cathy noticed that his wife looked like she could deliver her baby any minute. Happy arrivals to come!

I could turn this into a serious post about some of what I believe heaven will be like, but I choose not to. Suffice it to say that I think these earthly homecomings are just shadows of the real deal God has planned for His own family.

We have celebrated numerous arrival moments over the years. Some stick out. Like the time my dad was celebrating his retirement from a career of making cars run smooth. He was that honest mechanic that people came to from many miles away.

My mom had told him that some people were coming over for a big get-together after Sunday church services. A number of folks came and set it up while he was at church. What he didn't know was that our son Sean -- 13 at the time -- and I were flying in for the occasion. We intentionally stood back out of his view and grinned as dad greeted each person and exhuberantly thanked them for coming. Suddenly he looked up and there we were. We hadn't seen him in a long time and he was overwhelmed. What a great time!

Do you have a favorite experience you would like to share? Sound off!

My current favorite was yesterday, when Book Girl Molly greeted us as we arrived at her house. She sees us all the time on a webcam, but she was bewildered by our presence.

For about a minute. Now Grammy and Sampa are her best friends.


C. Beth said...

This made me cry!

My first is not quite a homecoming story but it's connected. When I had my church baby shower for Chickie, I was very emotional. I felt so loved but really wished Mom could be there. After I'd opened all the gifts, someone brought out one more--a package from Mom with the quilt she'd made. I remember I cried very happy tears--it made me feel a little more like she was there with me!

I also remember picking up you from the airport, Dad, a week after Chickie was born. I was carrying her, and I was just so proud to introduce her to her Sampa, and I had trouble holding back the tears.

Sam said...

Oh, yes, I remember! I remember the joy of holding my first grandchild. AND I remember the joy in her mother's eyes as you handed her to me.

BTW, you now now how each child doesn't diminish your parental joy, but increases it. The same is true with grandchildren!

Heather said...

Okay, I was moved by the post, but now with the comments I'm really crying. Sam, that song always gets me too. It seems to epitomize what I'm going through right now. Somehow that song captures the sadness of leaving and the excitement of adventure all in the same note. We're preparing to go back to Canada to see family before our move to the UK and I'm sure all the arrivals and departures will be undertaken with many tears of all kinds.

The best arrival was my Mom when Asher was 6 months old, they too saw each other on webcam all the time and he was slightly confused by seeing her in person but as soon as he heard her voice he reached for her right away. He couldn't have given either of us a better gift that day.

PS I always love people watching at the airport, too, especially kids.

Sam said...

Hey Heather, As I have read about your upcoming adventure, I could really see both the joy and the challenge of moving across the pond. It's one thing to hop on a plane, knowing the date and time of your return. You, however, wrote earlier about traveling on a one-way ticket and with no immediate plans of a return. THAT grabs my heart.

May God bless you and your family over the holidays, then may you experience incredible moments via the cam and in times together.

Chris Bowers said...

Great post Sam!

I've had so many great experiences that choosing one seems pretty tough. You see, I've got to be the most blessed dude ever.

I wanted to comment on what you said about the "real deal God has planned." You buttered my toast with that line. How true it is! That vision of being in the same place with ALL of the saints. Oh Yeah! That is gonna be cool!

If I don't see you here, I'll see you there. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sam said...

Hey Chris, your kind words are a great encouragement. I have been reading some of your writing and am deeply blessed by what you said. Maybe, just maybe, we can see each other before that appointment to come.


Laurie said...

AAHHH...Running down a flight line to greet my husband back from Iraq, Seeing your daughter after 3 months of boot camp march out as a USMC. Just having the kids come back home from college. What A BLOG!!