September 12, 2005
Sitting in airport lounges for four months, I have been surrounded by human love in action.
Cars driving up to the check-in curbside, trunk lids opening, bags being piled with sweaters…hugs, kisses and more hugs.
Travelers with time on their hands stroll through airport shops filled with scarves, stuffed toys, and boxes of chocolate, a perfect place to grab an offering for family waiting at home. I missed you.
Mothers and fathers, like families of ducks, lead a trail of small children dragging midget rolling suitcases through the airport. Blankets are spread on the floor, tired Teddy bears, mussed hair, fussy tears, and sleepy bundles…a mother leans over, I love you.
Tonight as I sit waiting for the boarding call on my final flight home, I snatch time to call those I love. I leave a short message telephone for my daughter. I miss her. Can we meet for lunch when I get home this week? Love you, Mom.
I connect with my son three thousand miles away. It’s great to hear your voice! He surprises me with news that he might be able to fly home to visit me in two weeks. My heart lifts.
My husband is still at work, but I leave a message with my flight number and arrival time. I close my eyes and see him standing as always just ahead of me, arms extended for both my suitcase and my hug. It’s been a great trip, but I’m really looking forward to seeing you. I’ve missed you!
And finally, the call over the speaker comes. I follow in line down the tunnel to the open plane door, stow my bags and click my seatbelt shut. Faintly, I hear my husband’s return call on my cell phone. There’s just enough time before the pilot tells us to turn off all electronic devices. Yes, I’m finally on my way home. Can’t wait to see you. Love you, too!
I close my eyes as the last few people shuffle bags overhead. Behind me, one seat over, a woman, like me, makes use of the last few minutes before they close the door to call home. It’s a familiar call. Hearing her pass along the brief details of flight arrival, the softness in her voice lets you know someone is waiting to welcome her home. Yes, the plane is on time. I’ll see you soon. Kiss, kiss. Love you.
What does this all have to do with sex and teaching abstinence until marriage? Nothing. And everything.
Nothing — Kiss, kiss…I love you. So much love flows through an airport. Strands of love stretching around the globe renewed with simple hugs, short cell phone messages, and postcards carefully written over cups of coffee. No sex. But, oh, the magnitude of love offered and accepted.
And everything. — Abstinence until marriage is a message about the purity of love, a gift we can treasure and share anywhere at anytime with anyone. Love without sex affirmed as supremely worthy is no small accomplishment in a society that has led young people to believe that, for love to matter, sex must be involved.
Returning home…my eyes hold back tears as I think of once again being able to talk and spend quiet moments with my husband. It’s been a long summer of trips leaving home. Hotel rooms. Rental cars. Business meetings. Conferences.
Yet…returning home…month after month, year after year, to be greeted by my husband of thirty years, is a renewal of love unending. It is a reason to love traveling, if only for the coming home again.
Airports are places where goodbyes build opportunities for reflecting on what makes life worthwhile. One goodbye, a hug and a kiss, and love held pure over thousands of miles and hundreds of days because it lives in the heart. A truth about love worth remembering…and teaching.
April 11, 2005 – Why I Teach Abstinence
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