I finished up my last visit tonight, and I’m headed home. When I got to the airport, I decided to get a slice of pie and a cup of coffee to celebrate the fact that the destination on my gate screen says Nashville. When the waitress came to take my order, I looked up and immediately recognized her. This was not the first time I had ordered pie and coffee here.
Last year, I came to Houston for the first time. After a good visit with my station, I zipped off to the IAH airport, only to find out that my flight was cancelled and there wouldn’t be another one until the next day. I ended up rebooking on another carrier and taking an hour Lyft ride through heavy Houston traffic to the other airport across town. I arrived, dragging my feet, dead tired, and just really wanting to be home.
I walked into a little airport restaurant and ordered a slice of key-lime pie and coffee to ease my woes (as pie and coffee is wont to do…). I started chatting with two twin sisters working that night. Lisa & Lauren. They rolled silverware and refilled salt & pepper shakers while we chatted about Gospel music and their classes in school and hometowns and families and life. And it was the best. I walked away feeling lighter. Better. Smiley-er.
Because do you know what I love? Making new friends.
Tonight, over a year later, when I sat down at that same restaurant to order that same cup of coffee and that same slice of pie, guess who came to take my order? Lisa. I told her I recognized her and asked her if she remembered me. Does she remember how we talked about Gospel music? Yes, she says with a smile, but wasn’t I blonde then? I laughed and told her she remembered correctly. Soon they were both standing near my table with the salt and pepper shakers, asking how I’d been, telling me their plans for the holidays, updating me on how long they have left in school.
People often ask me how I like traveling. And the truth is, the plane rides get long, and trying to remember what rental car you’re in in a crowded parking lot is frustrating, and hotel rooms just aren’t ever a good substitute for home.
But, this is why I love this job. It has given me such a sweet opportunity to make friends all over the country. To connect with familiar faces over a slice of pie. To connect with my radio pals over coffee and good music. To connect about family and ministry and stories of the lives we’ve lived.
That’s where home is anyway. In connection with people.
I’m sitting at my gate now, listening to two men talk about an NFL game coming up. One for the Texans, one for the Titans. Neither of them has introduced themselves, but names are inconsequential here. They’ve connected over something their hearts both beat for, and for a minute, they’re at ease. At home in their own skin. At home here at Gate 42.
Life really is sweet especially when it’s spent with other people living it. Don’t forget that this Christmas. Don’t blink or move too fast and miss it. Revel in it. Smile about it. Be sensitive to it. Be intentional about connecting with the hearts around you and do your best to make others feel at home when they’re with you.
Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam
When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze
For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home!
-Home For The Holidays