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Location: Penang, Malaysia

August 01, 2008

The Airport

My first business trip to overseas was back in the year 1995 and that was to Bekasi, Cibitung. I have been travelling since then but one thing that forever fascinates me is the airport. That is a place where you might not be able to tell whether it is day or night outside. Another thing is that, you might not have to worry about the local weather at all. Of course, that varies from airport to airport though. This is pretty much the physical side of it. I remember reading an interesting article about the airport. Let me try to recall from fragments of my memory.

The airport is full of emotions. For business trip that lasted for more than 6 months, I took my wife and son along as allowed by the company policy. There was once I had to travel for about 4 months and that trip really trained me to live without my family. Even though we communicated everyday on the phone, you still longed to hold each other. The moment I left the departure hall, I knew the temporary separation might not be easy. After I had my passport stamped, I turned back for a last glance and I found myself crying a little. Maybe that was also due to very good friend of mine actually went on a one-way ticket to perform kidney transplant in China a few months before. Anyway, we really have no contract with whosoever that we will live until certain age.

If we are really observant, we could see the deep emotions people have at the departure hall. Most of the time, people will hug each other more tightly, kiss more affectionately for the very last time, and still we have to let go. At such a moment, all differences, grudges, bad habits are forgotten, "sins" are forgiven, We will really hope that person will not go but that won't happen, so the next best thing we can do will be looking forward to the return. Any disagreements will be settled in exchange for the chance to see each other again.

When we return, after the immigrations and customs, we will be eagerly looking around for the familiar faces that we miss so much. You will just ignore everyone around, hug each others, and start kissing your loved ones. That few seconds feel like the beginning of a new chapter in life. Your loved ones don't mind that your have not taken any bath for the past 2 days. The most important thing is that the meeting is emotionally fulfilling.

Life and death is like the arrival and departure at the airport. Such precious moments are born out of pure love and will be treasured forever. After the departure and arrival, we will be back to our "normal" self and we will not be able to appreciate each other on any normal days. We are taking things for granted until the next "departure".

How wonderful it will be if we can live a life where we can unconditionally love each other on every single ordinary day? How much time have we wasted when we are trying just to win over an argument, being too particular on certain things, being egoistic, "punishing" the other party by not talking to each other, etc.? Life is beautiful and we should not be bother with such trivial things. As Stephen Covey said, let's focus on the big rocks.

It would be great if we can keep reminding ourselves about the airport. Be grateful for every breath we have like the way tzuchi people greet each other, 感恩 (gan en). Look at the positive side of life, compliments, and cherish. Anumodana.

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