What if I Wanna Be Wild at Heart Too?

In order to be a trendy teenager in my friend circle growing up, one was encouraged to read the twin books Wild at Heart and Captivating, if not by an adult, by peer pressure. I was actually given both books by different folks; the books were wildly popular during my coming of age years and still are to some extent in some circles.

Wild at Heart is written for men by John Eldredge and Captivating is written for women by both John and his wife Stasi; both books contain the subtitle: “Discovering the secret to a man’s/woman’s soul.” The books outline characteristics which differ between men and women and discuss what went wrong when those characteristics are not allowed to be fleshed out.

I offer some reflections on the books, but want to preface by saying, I am speaking not with counseling or psychological expertise, but rather from the expertise that comes from my experience as a woman. I should insert here that John is a counselor and has previously taught at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, with whom you may associate the name, James Dobson. So he appears to have some expertise that I do not have in certain areas, even so, I would like to offer a critique of the books. They both certainly remain vivid in my memory as they were influential during some impressionable years, whether unfortunately or not.

In an interview on beliefnet.com, when asked about the similarities and differences in the desires of men and women (which comprise the basis of the books), both John and Stasi describe them as follows:

“Well, they  are very similar, what a man desires and what a woman desires, and they fit together really well. And yet, they’re distinctly masculine and distinctly feminine. In fact, in Wild at Heart, I said every man wants a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. And in Captivating-every woman wants to be romanced; every woman wants to play an irreplaceable role in a heroic adventure, not just to be useful but to be irreplaceable; and every woman longs to have a beauty that’s all her own to unveil, both an external beauty and an internal beauty as well. To be the beauty and to offer beauty.”

When asked about men not always pursuing women in today’s society, John and Stasi responded:

“That passivity on the part of men is not a good thing. That’s wounded masculinity, and that’s why “Wild at Heart” is trying to get guys to take initiative. Hello, give her a call, right? Buy a ring! Make a move, buddy. One of woman’s greatest powers is the power of invitation. Just by virtue of being a woman, the way she’s living her life, determines what she’s inviting others to. If she’s a very controlling, afraid woman, she’s inviting others to not risk anything and certainly asking them not to be vulnerable with her. If she’s driven, she’s inviting you to being driven. If it’s done with wisdom, there’s a very cunning way that a woman can arouse and lure a man to move, to become a man.”

In another interview that John gave beliefnet.com, John was asked: “You write that Christianity as it currently exists has done some “terrible things” to men. What do you mean by that?”

“Christianity has basically communicated to men that the reason God put you on this earth is to be a good boy. Mind your manners, be a nice guy. That’s soul killing! It’s not true, and for a man to hear the message that the greatest achievement of his life is simply not rocking the boat, not offending anyone, not taking any risks but just being a genuinely swell guy–that kills him.

His nature is made for something much more dramatic. Here’s how you can tell: look at the games boys play or the films men love. Boys want risk, adventure, danger, exploration. Why do men love maps? Women don’t love maps.

Look at the films men love, whether it’s Chariots of Fire, Schindler’s List, The Shawshank Redemption, the Die Hard films, Indiana Jones, or James Bond. They all involve a challenge, a great battle, something to be won, some deep hardship to be faced and overcome. That’s the soul of a man. To tell him that you’re really not made for that, that what God really wants is for you to be an altar boy, kills a man. It takes all the passion out of life.”

Let me be clear, besides the sweeping generalizations here, I believe that this kind of militaristic attachment to masculinity (especially Christian masculinity) is as damaging to men as it is to women. It’s especially damaging when paralleled with emasculation of Christ. This militaristic Christianity is that which landed Christians leading violent crusades; it also reinforces the principals of complementarianism which assert that the man is the head of the household and the woman’s role is to submit to the natural hierarchy of leadership instated by God. But I digress and will save that topic for another post.

The issue I want to address here is the damage which I feel these ideas does to individuality. These books narrowly define men and women into categories which suggest the secret to distinct, deep longings for both sexes. But what if I, as a woman, am wild at heart? What if I enjoy Indiana Jones for crying out loud? Men aren’t the only folks who have a deep desire to be respected. We confine girls to these specific roles of waiting to be pursued and learning how to possess some kind of seduction techniques which help men be more masculine. I, as a woman, have no responsibility to help a man be more masculine. I do have a responsibility to love and respect my brother as well as my sister. I do not have a responsibility to wait around to be pursued by someone; I do have a responsibility to pursue justice, mercy, and kindness. What are we teaching our girls with books like these? I am afraid that it is a self-fulfilling prophecy situation. We tell our girls that their deepest desire is to be loved and rescued by a man and so they live into that. And they wait and wait in silence.

I would like to have a daughter one day and if I am given that beautiful honor, I do not desire to teach my daughter how to be a woman, rather, I want to teach her how to be a human. To give her a voice and confidence to use it to love people.

Hear me here, I am not advocating for the eradication of genders (mostly because I have no intelligent ideas to suggest here– hint, hint– if you do, hit up the comments section), but what I am saying with a loud internet voice is: I don’t want to be defined by my gender, but by my spirit. 

What if we celebrated our individuality based upon our gifts and passions, not based upon our gender?

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If you’ve read the books, feel free to jump in with your thoughts. What was your experience in reading one of both?

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The Weathered Hands of a Nobel Peace Laureate

I apologize for my delayed posts as of late as I have been trying to meet other deadlines in a busy spring semester; however, ideas for posts and this blogging community are frequently on my mind.

It is my great pleasure to relay to you the sentiments of Dr. Shirin Ebadi. This past Friday night, Belmont University partnered with STARS to host the Mid-South Peace-Jam event. A human rights organization, Peace-Jam teaches youth  about peace, allows them to develop peace proposals for various topics, and then present these to Nobel Peace Laureates at an annual conference. Pretty cool, huh?! This year, Dr. Ebadi was invited to receive the youth peace proposals and to be the keynote speaker.

The night began with a techie-heavy video that defined the sometimes ambiguous term: “human rights.” The short video can be found here and is well worth your time. After video, Dr. Ebadi took the stage. In 2003, Dr. Ebadi, an Iranian lawyer, was  awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at a historic ceremony, signifying the first Iranian to have received this distinction.

Fall 2012 Beauty 100

Dr. Ebadi is a small woman with a big voice. She spoke of the disjunct between the Iranian people and their government, stating that many Iranians do not promote the enrichment of uranium in their country, even though their government will not back down from it. She spoke of Iran’s involvement in Syria and about human rights violations occurring within Iran’s borders. Two womens testimonies in court are the equivalent of one man’s; by law, the life of a woman is considered half of that of a man’s. If one is not a Shi’a Muslim, life is very difficult, and often results in religious persecution (even Sunni Muslims experience this in Iran).

She spoke of the harsh economic sanctions imposed on Iran by western countries (ie. the US), sanctions which have affected the citizens in many detrimental ways. She suggested this was not the best or most humane way to force the government to disarm; instead she suggested very specific political sanctions.

When asked when she believes Iran will be a full democracy, she questioned the definition of democracy. Yes, Iranian citizens can vote, but do they all have basic human freedoms, such as a freedom of speech and religion? No. So, in her opinion, a true democracy does not exist in her country. She is hopeful that such structure will come through students and through feminists: stating: “The feminist movement is very strong in Iran, so is the student movement. I am sure that one day democracy of Iran will be brought through the youth.” I am happy to suggest the same is true for America, in that, I believe positive change is coming through students and feminism.

Asking the last question, a female student quietly inquired: “What can we do?” Shirin responded by saying: students must not be indifferent about what goes on in their country and the world. They must be informed activists. They must have larger goals for their life than achieving PhD’s or buying houses, (though these aren’t inherently negative), they must be real human beings.

Wow.

Though she is currently exiled to London, it is clear that Shirin is still fighting for the human rights and dignities of her countrymen/women.

Though this woman can’t be taller than 5’1, is Iranian, and does not speak my native tongue, I suspect she and I are a lot alike. We believe that equality is a prerequisite for peace and that we, as humans, have a social responsibility to each other to work for these human rights. She and I realize that when women are disenfranchised, so are children, and so are men, everyone is. That when Iranians and Syrians suffer human rights violations, we do as much injustice to ourselves as we do to the sufferers of it when we refuse to care or engage.

Her eyes told me she had seen much injustice; her hands showed me that she had fought it with ferocity, not because she was suffering its oppression, but because this was what “being human” meant to her.

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Is equality a prerequisite for peace? Are my standards too high, my thoughts too idealistic?

We Need Another MLK Jr.

As we are nearing the end of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, MLK Day rolls around once again and while most of us are grateful for the momentary reprieve from the job or the classroom, I wonder how much time we’ll actually take today to “celebrate” the man that Martin Luther King Jr. was.

If you have a second, I’d love to honor this man with you by recalling his activism, his legacy, and then similarly contemplating what he would be fighting for if he were not a victim of 1968’s hate and violence.

photo by DiscoverBlackHeritage on Flickr

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Born in Atlanta, GA in 1929, Dr. King was a Baptist minister and civil-rights activist; he practiced nonviolence and believed in engaging in nonviolent protests to push back against the racial inequalities of his day (voting rights, labor rights, and desegregation for African Americans). Dr. King was inspired by the teachings of Quaker groups and also by Mahatma Gandhi, so much so that he visited Gandhi’s Indian birthplace in 1959. In a speech, Dr. King reflected on his trip to India: “Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity.” (The papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., 1992)

Through nonviolent activism, Dr. King was instrumental in the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. For his works of nonviolence and humanitarianism about racial prejudice, King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Four years later, Dr. King was assassinated in April of 1968.

If he were here today, I wonder what Dr. King would have said about the fact that slavery still exists on the very land that he fought and died on. I wonder what he would say if he knew that not all citizens shared equal rights today. I can imagine his anger would drive him to speak, protest, and advocate with his every breath.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, so here we are today….celebrating the life of a man who fought injustice in our country, while simultaneously raising awareness that we are not done yet.  We have not arrived. Not all people have rights. Not all people are free.

I don’t think that folks wake up and consciously think: “Today, I’m going to focus on demeaning someone, or say, how about I mix in a little discrimination into my schedule right after lunch?” But I do think silence, passive as it may be, is evil too. Dr. King said: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Globally, we estimate there are currently around 27-30 million slaves. US law defines trafficking as: “An ACT or attempted act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person by means of force, abduction, fraud, coercion, purchase, sale, threats, abuse of power for the purpose of exploitation.” In 2011, 85 counties in Tennessee saw trafficking cases, with Nashville nearing the top of the list with over 100 cases of minor sex trafficking and 100 cases of adult sex trafficking. (Here are some more facts)

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” said Dr. King.

So what can we do in the face of such injustice and inequality? How can we nonviolently fight against violence?

We must look inside ourselves and stop being so afraid of our neighbor because fear causes hate. Then we must persist.

I love what Anne Lamott tweeted recently: “Someone’s already said what you & I are trying to say in our work; and said it better. We can just tell our truest version, in our voices.” I love this because I believe that most of what we write has already been written in the past, but if it’s a voice working for equality, justice, and love, then redundancy is a most precious and necessary thing. Even if we are producing overlapping and redundant words, we must keep persisting. Keep writing, keep speaking, keep advocating. Until all are free, we must not stop.  This is the dream we carry.

To raise your voice against human trafficking in TN, check out End Slavery TN’s website. They do amazing work and I’m so grateful for their advocacy in Tennessee.

For national or international opportunities to end trafficking, check out Not For Sale or International Justice Mission.

Do Not Be Fooled

Do not be fooled, oh no friend, do not.

Do not mistake my vulnerability for weakness,
or my pacifism for apathy.

Do not mistake my inclusiveness for waywardness,
or my faith for certainty.

Do not mistake my love for an agenda,
or my prayer for ritual.

For there is a hurricane in me,
a ferocity only quenched by equality.

When sweat for peace flows down, mingling,
with tears of joy at its long awaited arrival.

When diamonds no longer have blood covering them,
and balance replaces patriarchy,

When children no longer shoot AK-47s,
and women preach in pulpits.

For the day is coming when swords will become plows,
when the pen will break the gun,
and fear that feeds hate, will lose.

Do not be fooled, oh no my friend, do not.

If In Doubt, Blame Feminism

Recently Denny Burk, a professor at Boyce College of Southern Seminary, wrote an article that essentially blamed feminism for Elizabeth Wurtzel’s fall from glory and arrival at a low spot in life.

I do not believe feminism is to blame for all women who find themselves single. Nor do I think that feminism alone accounts for all the moral pathologies on display in Wurtzel’s article. But I do believe that feminism has provided the social context for women to be congratulated by the culture for sad choices that they make. Third wave feminism in particular–and especially its tendency to ape male promiscuity–has left many women desolate and alone. As one feminist put it, these women have become the shocked victims of their own sex lives.

He did not make us unisex. He did not make us genderless humanoids with no direction for our intimate lives. He made us male and female. And for those to whom it has been given, He made us to give ourselves away to years of finding stale Cheerios in every hidden crevice of the minivan, to seasons of graduations and of anniversaries and of empty nests, to gray years with the love of your life who is your best friend, to lifetimes of covenant love.

Feminism is the killer of that dream, even though precious few seem to notice.

Burk, among other popular conservative evangelicals such as John Piper, is a complementarian. This term is defined in Christian-dome as someone who believes that the Bible requires women to submit to male leadership in the household, marriage, church, and possibly beyond. The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is a complementarian group dedicated to promoting the idea that men and women are equal in God’s eyes, but have separate and complementary roles in the home and church. Men are to lovingly lead and women are to intelligently submit in the home AND there are some governing and teaching roles in the church which are solely restricted to men. There are many, including myself, who would classify this line of thought as patriarchy.

Burk’s post is not surprising coming from an outspoken proponent of complentmentarianism and anti-feminism, but it is quite troubling. It’s troubling that leaders in conservative evangelicalism have such disdain for feminism. Granted, the term “feminism” has encompassed many different faces through the years, yet at the very core of the definition, is female equality, not superiority. Burk seems to blame feminism for Wurtzel’s woes. It’s feminism’s fault that she doesn’t have a family, money, investments, real estate, etc. It’s feminism which congratulated and encouraged her to live such a life and it’s feminism which has left her alone and desolate in 2012. He then calls feminism the “killer of a dream”… the dream of seeing children graduate, searching for your kid’s lost cheerios in between the minivan seats, and going gray with the love of your life.

There is something very alarming in Burk’s logic and his words. Granted, in the blogging world you seek to create articles that will ruffle feathers, so I understand that aspect, but what alarms me is that he really believes this about feminism. And he is not alone. Patriarchy is a popular idea in evangelicalism and has spent many unfortunate years lingering in the moral framework of American households, businesses, and churches. It is a vile thing that continues to create imbalance in the places it pervades. The truth of patriarchy is that it doesn’t help men either. One person being the head of another based on fixed gender is equally as damaging and awful for the head as it is the foot. An imbalance is created when women give life through birth and men take it over. I strongly believe that gender equality is a prerequisite for peace. So to suggest that feminism (the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men) is to blame for this woman’s life choices and subsequent disenfranchisement is completely unfounded and actually, quite illogical. Her choices were her own and I cannot speculate on her life choices as I have very little knowledge of them. It is very possible for a woman to promote women’s equality AND have a loving, stable, egalitarian marriage with a man. AND have children in that marriage. Children who require her to clean cheerios out of the minivan and children who will eventually graduate from college and leave an empty nest.

Remember that it is possible for both a man and a woman to be feminists, to promote women’s equality. It seems like one Jewish man did it a few thousand years ago and he changed the world.

Does complementarianism/ patriarchy have a place in marriage, the church, or society? Do you agree that gender equality is a prerequisite for peace?

The Fighting Church: Thoughts on Homosexuality and Christianity

Welcome back to the Our Emptying Church blog series! For the past three months, we have been exploring why Millennials (ages 18-30) have left or will leave the church. We’ve had some significant interviews with Millennials and are about to hear from some pretty great guest posters.

We are specifically addressing the six most common reasons why the number of religious unaffiliated Millennials is on the rise (in order, they are: antihomosexual, judgmental, hypocritical, too involved in politics, old-fashioned, out of touch with reality). Several weeks ago, in light of the coming presidential election, I addressed the church’s involvement in politics and today I wish to jump into the church and homosexuality. I realize this is an emotionally- infused topic, which is why I will attempt to write with honesty, objectivity, and grace. It is also why I only welcome graceful, constructive dialog in the comments section of this blog. It is certainly okay to disagree so long as it’s done in a constructive, kind manner. I don’t intend on changing your stance; however, I do hope to provide a little more perspective on why the church is overwhelmingly seen as anti-homosexual by Millennials and why, in my opinion, we are leaving the church because of this perception.

In times past, the church has not only offered strong objection to the gay lifestyle but made it an object of scorn, disdain, and dehumanization. Hostilely opposing the gay community hasn’t just become a cause of Christianity, it has, for some Christians, become intertwined in their identities. In his book unChristian, generational researcher, David Kinnaman writes:
“…hostility toward gays– not just opposition to homosexual politics and behaviors but disdain for gay individuals– has become virtually synonymous with the Christian faith.” Kinnaman’s research showed that 9 out of 10 Mosaics and Busters (ages 18-41) who are unaffiliated with the church viewed Christians as anti-homosexual.

I see a lot of fear floating around these days and fear tends to make us dehumanize folks.

And there’s a big difference in disagreeing with someone and demeaning him/her.

I wonder if this distinction is a little too muddy in the church.

Millennials are wondering too.

As of late, post-presidential election in particular, I’ve been hearing and reading claims of religious persecution… that some Christians feel their rights have been infringed upon by recent legislation, ACLU lawsuits and the such. I think it important to remember that there are men and women murdered for their faith everyday and that our history is stained with story after story of religious martyrs. These are events of persecution. Being bullied, having Bibles thrown at you, being told regularly that God hates you, or picket signs stating your eternal damnation may constitute the term “persecution” too.

I think it’s important to try to step out of yourself and look objectively. How do you love people? How do you love those that you fear or disagree with? How do you love the LGBTQI+ community? Do you fear working for causes like ending HIV/AIDS? Would you entertain the idea that the legality of gay marriage is actually a civil and human rights issue?

Evangelical Christians have been heard loud and clear that homosexuality is a sin, that it is an unacceptable lifestyle, and that gay couples should not be allowed to marry each other. I’m not sure we Millennials need to keep on hearing it, as we already know where these folks stand. I’d love to hear a little more about how the church is going to fight sex trafficking in Tennessee. Can you tell me how many counties in Tennessee have reported a case of minor sex trafficking in the last two years? Can you even tell me what sex trafficking is? Perhaps we should talk a little more about such things instead of continuing to fight and legislate a culture war.

As stated above, the intent of this post is not to dive into the few Bible verses that mention homosexuality or to change your views on the ethics of the subject, those are personal and you are responsible for researching your own beliefs, but you are similarly responsible for your actions in loving people. Trying to establish Christianity’s primacy in American culture by voting for bans on gay marriage isn’t really a victory for Christians at all. In it, we are completely disenfranchising a group of Americans, of humans. Millennials see this and they are tired of the culture wars. They are tired of the control that Christians seem to feel they must have on all things culture.

I say this as a Millennial who still dearly loves the emptying church.

Teach me how to be a strong woman. Teach me about the women of the Bible. Teach me about human trafficking. Teach me how to hug someone I hate. Teach me how to prevent diseases through education and vaccines. Teach me how to meditate on scripture. Teach me how to trade the sword for the plow. Teach me how to change my heart. Teach me how to rid myself of arrogance and pride. Teach me how to lead by serving. Teach me how to speak with grace. Teach me how to preach. Teach me how to fast for a cause. Teach me how to persist. Teach me to weep for the hurting. Teach me how to take care of the earth. Teach me sustainable farming. Teach me how to live with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control. Teach me how to embrace life’s seasons. Teach me how to pastor. Teach me how not to hate. Teach me how to rid myself of prejudice. Teach me how to get off the couch after a broken heart. Teach me how to love. I beg you. There are so many hurting people in this world… teach me how to love them like Christ, not how to fight a culture war, I beg you. Teach me.

For those Christians who cannot condone homosexuality, yet who still love folks and treat them kindly regardless of their sexuality, thank you. You teach me a great deal. Thank you. I’m sorry that you are sometimes labeled bigoted for your personal beliefs. I know that’s unfair and hurtful.

Let us find the grace that we beg God for and extend it to each other. Let’s put a name to a face and listen to each others stories; I bet we’ll begin realizing that we aren’t so different after all. When we consciously chose love, I sincerely believe we send a loud and clear message to Millennials, much more so than a picket sign or buying waffle fries at the Chick-fil-A.


Feel free to post any constructive thoughts or experiences below.


This post is the ninth in a succession of the series Our Emptying Church. The purpose of this series is to explore why millions of Millennials are leaving the church. Check out these recent posts: Our Emptying Church, When Christianity Sometimes Looks UnChristian, Fake Smiles and Judging Eyes: OEC Interview with Millennial #1, Prioritizing Sin: OEC Interview #2, You’re Losing Us: OEC Interview #3, OEC Interview #4: One Last Chance, Our Beloved, Overly Political Church, Heroes in Disguise: OEC Interview #5, Good Church Folk: OEC Interview #6, OEC Guest Post: Mark and Tammy Edwards

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The Arrivals Gate…

At 6 weeks old, I was gearing up for my very first airplane ride in which I would wail unceasingly from take off to a Caribbean landing because I felt that my ears were going to self-implode into tiny bits. I didn’t quite understand the principles of cabin pressure. But you know, who really ever does? Shortly thereafter, the airline my mom worked for issued a memo that non-revenue passengers traveling with children under six years of age, must sit in coach and not first or business classes. So I may be the reason for that. This is my formal apology to the world.

From BNA to DFW to SFO to LAX to ORD to MIA to JFK, growing up, getting out of bed in one city and laying my head on the pillow to sleep in another city was not an uncommon occurrence.

Sometimes we’d catch a Miami sunset while eating dinner at the MIA Hotel atop the Miami airport… sometimes we’d sleep on the floor of Chicago O’Hare because…well, we all know how crazy Chicago weather and delays are. In our usual manner of flying stand-by, I remember one trip in which we were trying to make a flight to Cancun but ended up in San Juan because there were absolutely no open seats to Mexico. On another trip, torrential downpours and subsequent flashing flooding, left my mother and I stranded at JFK in New York City. No planes were going up and none were coming down. After 14 hours of trying to find a seat on any flight to any northeastern city, she and I decided to rent a car and drive 22 hours to our destination of Prince Edward Island, Canada. We’ve been split up, delayed, re-routed, separated from our bags, bumped off flights, and everything else that could possibly occur in the airline industry. I can recount more stories about awkward TSA pat-downs than you probably care to hear.

You see, I am a proud product of an airline family. My beautiful mother was employed for 25 years in the airline industry and so the ins and outs of air travel became second nature to our family. It is as much a part of me as music or writing or biology is. Travel speaks to my soul like nothing else can. Airports are a second home. They offer a comfort that I can’t really even quantify with due justice.

Somewhere in those years of planes, trains, and automobiles, I fell in love with all things travel. Can you identify? What is it about airports that suck us in?

Maybe it’s that airports are so similar to life. Exciting, unpredictable, subject to change, stressful, uncomfortable, diverse, confusing, able to produce an immense amount of joy

An airport is a microcosm of society… the diverse ethnicities, ages, occupations, socio- economic statuses present… and yet, unlike society, passengers have one goal. To navigate safely to their destinations.

And we are all equal on this day… on this trip.

We are all subjected to getting verbally nabbed by TSA agents and randomly selected for pat-downs and full body xray machines. We all forget about the liquid rule and end up having to throw away perfectly good hair spray. We are all delayed together. All stuck like cattle in security’s winding line. We all must endure the mile long concourse walk at various airports (for the love, somebody has got to do something about Charlotte’s concourses). On a flight at 35,000 feet… everyone is equal… regardless of socioeconomic status or race, our fates on the flight are the same. Turbulence together. Together we choke down in flight meals that have all the consistency of plastic. Two by two foot bathrooms together. Our souls draw us somewhere else, but in this space and time, we are all doing life together. Lives on hold, in limbo, together.

At an airport, journeys converge. So many folks are leaving, departing for another city or country. Departing for new beginnings. Departing for humanitarian aid trips. Departing for job interviews. Departing for weddings or funerals. Departing for much needed and long awaited vacations. Departing this season of life.

And then, conversely, many are arriving. Arriving to fall into the arms of loved ones. Reunited parents. Reunited lifelong friends. Reunited siblings. Reunited military families. Reunited lovers. Beginning a new season. All at the arrivals gate.

Somewhere in the cacophony of airplanes taking off, bags coming off the belt, PA announcements of final boarding calls, the hum of coffee makers, the goodbyes of loved ones, the grinding metal of jet bridges retracting, and monorail doors closing… I hear a symphony.

Airports draw me in, promising to take me somewhere beautiful, and give me equality along the way. I guess that about all I can ask for in life… and it is more than enough.

If you are reading this, you are going to need to tell me a travel story. Tell me anything… funny, hectic, something memorable that popped into your head as you read this post! Ready, set, go!