One of my favorite movie moments is Hugh Grant’s monologue at the end of “Love Actually.” I think about it at this time of year and every time I am at an airport. In the movie real life scenes from the arrivals gate at Heathrow play out as Hugh delivers these wonderful words.
“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world. I think about the arrival gate at Heathrow Airport. General studies make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. Seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it is not particularly dignified or newsworthy, it’s always there: fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were of hate or revenge. They were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling that you’ll find that love actually is all around.”
I find it hard not to get a bit misty eyed. My emotions are very easily manipulated by movie makers but in this case the sentiment seems very simple and genuine. It doesn’t feel like the usual contrived attempt to turn me into a blubbering heap on the sofa.
Travelling back to Scotland to spend Christmas with my family it kept coming back to me. It popped into mind as we created one of those scenes ourselves at Glasgow airport. I thought about it even more as we wandered through Newark airport to make the connecting flight. As we wandered through Terminal C it was incredible to see so many people headed to so many different locations on that one evening of the year.
I looked at faces as they passed and wondered about their story. Who? What? Where? When? Why? It’s overwhelming when you realize just how many people are at that one airport at any point in time passing through on their way to something else. It made me think of another quote, this time from Douglas Adams in his book The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
“Space,” it says, “is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space, listen…”
Forget space, this world is mindbogglingly big and full of people! Many of the people at Newark were headed to a similar arrival gate scene, especially at this time of year. Newark is just one of so many airports operating that same evening. It’s easy to get bogged down in the bad of our world but as the movie puts it so well “I’ve got a sneaking suspicion love actually is all around.”