“When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.” – William Arthur Ward
So today I traveled via airplane to Orlando, Florida for a work conference. It was an early flight, (departed at 6:10am) so I had my neck pillow and noise cancelling headphones primed for a good nap. As I walked down the row searching for the perfect aisle seat, I took a seat next to friendly looking woman who had the window seat in full command. We exchanged pleasantries as decent people do when sitting next to a stranger. And in the next few minutes as the plane was filling up, another friendly woman asked if she could squeeze in. Of course I obliged her and commenced to move into the aisle, so she could find the non-preferred middle seat.
As she sat down and we all exchanged pleasantries, I mentioned that I would most likely be asleep soon after the flight was airborne, due to a severe lack of sleep the night prior. However the nap never happened, but what did was an inspiring conversation from three perfect strangers with diverse backgrounds, different experiences yet with a common mindset on some important subjects regarding life, community, education and children.
Not only do I seldom speak with people on my flights, but for approximately 2-1/2 hours is not my common go-to experience, but these ladies were intriguing, funny and the conversation was honestly refreshing and inspiring. It reminding me of the decency and respect that we can have with, and for our fellow man/woman, regardless of the differences that often divide us.
So often the idea of assimilation is what will create the harmony that most decent citizens want in their communities, however I don’t believe that assimilation or promoting the melting point concept is what makes us strong. I believe it’s the very idea that we are different and can represent that, is what makes us strong. Today I was reminded of that. Each of us had ideas and thoughts about many topics. We found common ground yet freely expressed our own opinions with respect and dignity.
I believe we all left the flight more energized and more inspired to face our day. I’ll never take for granted the power of connecting with a stranger. I may never see them again, but they made an impression on me and I was grateful for the opportunity to share words, express ideas and listen to them, even if only for a couple of hours.
Moral of the story. Even during these challenging times we face in our country, today was a day of hope. A day that God brought three perfect strangers together to inspire, instill hope and reinforce the common good that remains in the human race. I’m forever grateful.