Moving into 2018
Yesterday, fifth of the thirteen flights I am or was booked on in these couple weeks, had a three year old named Noah across the aisle. He was wearing a pilot’s hat and there was no way he was going to turn around to take a photo for grandpa, no sir. That would have meant looking away from the planes for a second or three. Noah is a big fan of planes. Noah was just a little excited for his first flight. Noah was soul therapy for every person onboard flight 2053 from Houston to Miami. And Noah may well be my spirit animal as I struggle to comprehend 2017.
Noah reminds me what we can be. We can be joyful animals who finds beauty in both the everyday and the remarkable, even (or perhaps especially) when we don’t understand it.
“I’m flying!!” He exulted repeatedly. Even though the first half dozen times his grandma replied that no honey, we’re still on the ground, see the grass? But he kept on with his joy, and soon it was true.
Noah reminds me of what we’re not, we who have gained the joyous autonomy and burden of adulthood. We are not living in a world of dualities, binaries, only right or wrong. Right exists, as does wrong, but most things are a blend of those and more. If we want the richness of this life, we have to accept that and love it all the more for it.
First, we have to reach towards genuine understanding, then we have to fight for what we feel is right. And yet we must also stop focusing on suffering for all the ways things aren’t how we want them to be, and start appreciating all the ways they’re wonderful anyway.
Thats hard this year. Because let’s be honest, President Trump is a force of damage in the world, a locus of harm, a focal point of things gone wrong. And it hurts. It hurts to see our government corrupted this way, working against the decency, compassion, and intelligent integrity that make one love a nation and feel hope for the future.
But he is not the nation. Nor are the others of his ilk and misplaced allegiance. The nation is Noah. Our species is beautiful. The world is wondrous. We have so much to be grateful for. And that matters.
In a couple hours I’ll board my next plane. To Trinidad and Tobago. Then Guyana, New Year’s in the jungle for five days with the real-world angels of the Peace Corps, Suriname, before working my way back again. In those days and in the months ahead, I want to be like Noah. Excited at the miracle that we’re flying, up and up and up, even if we haven’t left the ground yet.