JFK: Meeting & Greeting at Intersections of Life

Trip Start May 16, 2010
Trip End May 26, 2010

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Flag of United States  , New York
Sunday, May 16, 2010

The John F. Kennedy International Airport is one of the world's largest intersections. Over 45 million people pass through JFK each year on their way literally to the ends of the earth. So much running to and fro; so much opportunity lost. The hectic airport pace is symbolic of the lost opportunity in our culture to build meaningful relationships with those with whom we intersect—its just too much bother in our busy lives.

As our traveling party arrived at the departure gate, it occurred to me just how valuable the relationships are that intersect our lives. Of late, several incidents have impressed upon me just how small the world has become. Several weeks ago I was engaged in a technical discussion with a manufacturing engineer at a Japanese automotive supplier when a lady came up to the cubicle and asked, "Do you remember me?" My immediate reaction was: “Should I?” Clearly our lives had intersected at some point in the past. Indeed, she had shared a class with my wife at college. Nearly 20 years later our lives intersected again in a very unexpected but pleasant way—a relationship lost was renewed once again.

Today, the meeting and greeting not surprisingly was an opportunity for both: Warmly greeting those with whom our lives had intersected in the past and meeting others for the first time at the intersection that our commencing journey afforded us. Take, for example, Barbara Welch with whom our life intersected in Toledo, Ohio when I was a much younger engineer working at Chrysler. Both our children are now grown and we are much farther along on our journey of life yet our lives intersect yet once again—so much to reminisce over; so much to look forward to as our relationship is reenergized.

Barb was not the only one of course. Bill Johnson whom I met for the first time when he was plant manager at Bombardier; Mark and Colleen Winner whose lives have intersected with ours on a number of occasions over the years. Mike and Becky Bennett whom we have met coming and going a number of times over the years as our lives went different directions. All these relationships form a patchwork quilt of sorts that has enriched my life. As we commence this journey to a conflicted part of the world, I look forward to building on these relationships and adding those with whom our lives intersected for the first time today when we met—names that are new at the moment but will no doubt turn into relationships to cherish by journey’s end.

Relationships are built or destroyed when lives intersect and unfortunately the latter is more common than the former. The next time I’m at JFK—or at some other airport intersection—engaging in one of my favorite pastimes—watching people running to and fro—I will ponder for a moment what the family of man might become if we would pause for just a moment to build relationships with all the people with whom we intersect.
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Chris Moen on

John has a real skill in reporting. I'll be looking forward to keeping up with his travel blog on this trip to the Middle East.

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