Sitting in the Detroit Airport last week underneath my husband’s coat and a blanket handed out by airport employees, and almost being able to see my own breath inside the airport, I made new friends!
The temperature inside the airport wasn’t much better than the sub-zero windchill outside. All of us were waiting for our delayed flight to Omaha, while trying to take our minds off how cold we were and how long we had been waiting. Flights on the East Coast were canceling due to bad weather, making it difficult to find flight crews for those of us waiting for connecting flights.
People really are amazing! Around me there were mother’s trying to comfort their babies, elderly people in wheel chairs, single people who hadn’t seen their significant other in months, military guys in uniform sleeping on the freezing floor and everyone simply wanting to get home to their families for Christmas. Given the coldness of the airport waiting room and the lateness of the hour, a very real sense of warmth and friendship seemed to override the stressful situation we were all facing.
In the book I’ve been reading on friendships, the author advises the reader to be on the look- out for the possibility of making new friends in any situation on any day. As I sat there visiting, laughing and shivering I kept my heart open to see if perhaps destiny was at work and new friendships were going to come out of this encounter. Simply being expectant and open to the idea made the time with the people around me very significant. I may not have made a new life-long friend during this encounter, but I truly experienced an uplifting time in what should have been an extremely disconcerting time. I shared camaraderie with a group of people whose lives touched mine and with whom I felt compassion and friendship.
We eventually arrived safely in Omaha very late that severely cold night, and as we departed the luggage area, many of us were waving good-bye and wishing each other safe travels and Merry Christmases. Since that night, I’ve thought often of each one of the people I met, and wondered about the outcome of their journey. They each had a story to tell, a life to be lived and friends or family to meet. We were friends for a few hours and it made a difference for all of us.
The airport experience has left me with a new sense of adventure and expectancy. Perhaps my next trip to the grocery store or the coffee shop will lend itself to making a new friend. I find myself with my head up and my heart attentive, looking to see if the person next to me in the check-out line might be a friend I’m destined to meet.
Could it be the old song I learned years ago around a campfire is true? “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.” Having experienced the value found in four-hour’s of friendship on a cold wintry night, in a place far from home, with people I may never meet again, I’m convinced it is!