Traveling solo can be hard. I was confronted twice by attendants at the airport and questioned if I was alone. I was left to carry my bags through the terminals by myself. I was also completely unaware that being by myself, I would have to make attempts to disguise my overly-packed bags in order to make them acceptable to carry onto the plane. And this is where I learned more about grace and our need for community.
Community, a concept I began to learn about through my time at Michigan State University and further felt I understood what it meant attending Moody Theological Seminary, to me is coming alongside others in their time of need. It is being able to rely on others. It is where kindness is not expected to be repaid.
This time of travel means that I have left behind the community I have become acquainted to having near. It means foraging ahead in hopes of seeing it exist again, but in the meantime doing much of what needs tending to without the assistance and cheerleading of others. However, it also permits me to experience a temporary form community.
At London Gatwick airport, my pack was far too large to be considered a carry-on. Because I had to transfer three kilograms from my checked bag into my pack, it was already larger than I originally anticipated it being. And there, in the cue with me was a French woman who offered to stow some of my things so that my bag could pass through check-in. She gained nothing but a heavier suitcase and small talk. Yet, I was able to get on the plane without paying for an extra bag and a few tips about traveling on budget airlines in the future.
This life was not made to be done solo. Whether community is deeply invested in or characteristics of it are shown in small bursts, we are made for living intimately with others. We are made to know and be known by others, to be vulnerable, to be helped. While my experience at the airport was just a glimpse, it blessed me greatly when I felt uncertain about traveling by myself.