An Eclipse, An Airplane Ride and An Aisle Crossed
This week, the Great American Eclipse suspended - for a moment - our typical, every day lives as we witnessed a celestial wonder. My own wondrous moment, however, came a few days before on a plane ride from Portland, OR to Cody, WY.
My flight to Wyoming was not to witness the Eclipse. Quite frankly, when booking this flight for a work trip a few months in advance, I hadn't paid attention to the date of solar infamy. However, the full flight brought many visitors specifically to the state to experience their 2 minutes of darkness in the middle of a sunny day.
One of those Eclipse visitors was named Margie (pronounced "mar-gee") and she happened to sit next to me on the flight to Wyoming.
Margie and I talked family, politics, military, education, work and of course, solar events. Though she had fond memories of summer visits in Wyoming (which is my childhood stomping ground and true home), her childhood and adult life were captured in San Francisco - which she seemed to love as much I love Wyoming.
Throughout our discussion, I observed that we came from different sides of the political aisle. Though we didn't hash out specific stances on issues, I suppose many of our thoughts and beliefs would have been opposite of one another.
Despite those differences, we shared common love and understanding of our family - particularly family members who had served in the military. We sided on the absolute need for respect and concern of people in our social circles who opinions might differ from our own and respect for all people on the outside of those circles. And we mutually recognized and expressed gratitude for the freedoms we have as Americans.
By generously sharing her own experiences, Margie reminded me that listening to others with the intent of seeking to understand them and hear their stories can soften hearts and tear down the assumptive walls we seem to place between ourselves and those who are not like us.
I've been affected by the increase of tension between individuals and groups of people in our country the past few years (and certainly past several months). The onslaught of disrespect for individual thought and ideas as well as the disregard for human decency and even life has elicited questions about the future of this country that I love.
Yet, my unseen worries and struggle seemed to dissipate after my conversation with Margie. I felt lighter, more hopeful and grateful to have met a fellow American as delightful and compassionate as this woman. As glorious as the sun and moon were in their perfect alignment, I found greater awe and inspiration in the worth of one beautiful soul.
Thank you Margie.
Shine On, Kimberly
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