Recently, I spent a couple hours in Chicago’s O’Hare airport as I waited for a flight. I had some time to waste so I sat down near my gate and watched the crowd of people make their way to various connections. If you’ve spent any time in a large airport recently you may have noticed, as I have, that there are two kinds of people in such a space: those who are in a hurry and those who are not.
This particular day was no different. I watched a few businesswomen shuffle quickly through the throng of travelers. A couple young adults sprinting down the moving walkway, presumably because they were in danger of missing their flight. And then there were the young families corralling their children as though they were herding cats…one or two darting off as mom & dad attempted to move them along at a hurried pace.
After some length of time, I spotted the more elusive demographic of airplane travelers — those who are in no hurry at all. This day, it was two teenage girls meandering down the terminal. I listened as they named off the destinations listed on the electronic signs, imagining together what it would be like to vacation there. Toronto… Dallas… Miami… Rather than zipping in and out of traffic, they seemed perfectly content to move slowly past the gates and take life at a slightly different pace.
This little experiment in people watching reminded me of an old African proverb that says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
These wise words seemed particularly true in the midst of a busy airport. Even when people were traveling with family members or a group of friends — it appeared as though the faster they moved, the more alone and disconnected they were. There’s just no time for human connection when your primary focus is weaving through traffic.
Think for a moment about the life & work of Jesus. So many of our gospel stories take place when Jesus and his group of friends were walking together from place to place. True — planes or hoverboards were not an option back then. But I’d like to think that even if Jesus walked the earth today he’d do just that — a lot of walking with the people he loved. These were the treasured moments where genuine conversations were had, questions could be asked, and relationships were deepened. They may not have gotten anywhere very quickly, but they most certainly went far — together.
No matter what our days hold, we are simply at our best when we take each other into account. Yes, moving quickly through the airport, through a day, through life, might seem simpler or easier at times. But even if it slows us down just a bit, life is simply better when we walk together.
– Katy Warren, associate pastor