Witnessing Love

Today I fetched one of my “Halifax sisters” from the airport.  Sweet because I had the time on a Wednesday morning to do simply what might have been a bit more complicated for her family.

When I arrived, I realized I’d forgotten to note the connecting flight number.  As I pondered the arrival display, trying to guess from where she was flying and when she might arrive, I noticed the gathering of an extended family off to my side.  A cross section of generations, spanning from elderly grandmotherly-grandfatherly types, to teenage girls, to elementary-aged boys and girls, to infants….all were collecting with a building excitement and curiosity.  What appeared to be parents or uncles were entertaining the short attention spans of the young children, while the older adults sipped Tim Horton’s coffee and waited.  Cameras clicked in anticipation of whoever would be arriving.   A bouquet of welcoming flowers clutched by the matriarch as we all moved over to the arrival doors.

The doors opened and there she was.  A beautiful woman, elegant in her black pin striped suit, her face alit with joy.  And there they were, ready to receive her in their open arms.  One by one, from most senior to youngest, she was embraced and kissed, she embraced and kissed.  The women wept.  The men wept.  Her eyes glistened with tears.  The children appeared shy, uncertain, but accepting. 

I knew in my full heart, with my own eyes full of tears, that I was witnessing something momentous, something out of the ordinary, given that an entire family had gathered and taken their children out of school.  Perhaps a long anticipated and cherished reunion? Originating from an estrangement under what circumstances? 

As they walked by, I bowed my head in gratitude for the silent privilege of having been witness to such love.  And then I saw and embraced my “sister.”

About Katharine Weinmann

living and leading with courage, clarity, compassion and creativity
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