Monday, March 15, 2010


I was on an airplane the other day. When we were about to take off, I obediently switched my portable device to the off position. After doing so, and properly stowing all carry on items, I started eavesdropping on a conversation taking place in the seats behind me. I never saw the boys, but I guess their ages to be about six and eight. They were at first arguing about why they needed to put their backpacks under the seat, but when the plane started to take off, it was very clear that this was their first plane ride.
At first, the younger one was a bit scared, and the older brother started talking about their destination in an attempt, I think, to distract him. When the plane accelerated to take off, they were both silent. I could almost feel their anxiety from where I was sitting. As soon as we were airborne, however, any trace of fear was wiped away, and I listened to a hundred shared observations from outside the window to their right. I didn’t even need to look, as they narrated everything visible outside their window in between sporadic “whoa’s” and “awesome’s.”
I am not sure if they realized that everyone else on the plane could hear every word they said before the pilot reinstated our right to turn on our computers, and headphones again, but I am sure they didn’t care. They were totally amazed both at the world outside the window and the magic that allowed them to see it from such an amazing perspective. I sat with my eyes closed and listened to them for a few more minutes.
Had I been in a more distracted state of mind, or too caught up in some imaginary drama, I may have been annoyed rather than enthralled with their dialog. Instead, I listened with gratitude, because even though I may be a bit quieter about it now, I still feel the exact same way.

Monday, March 1, 2010


People change. Sometimes people don’t change.
Buildings get torn down. Empty spaces get filled. Sometimes they don’t.
As I see the layers of my past amid the buildings and friends who still hang around my life, I like to think I can make predictions. Somehow the idea that I can comforts me. But it is not real. I can be sure only that new things will come, old things will change, and some things will remain just the same. By the time my predictions come true, it doesn’t matter anymore that I made them.
One thing I always forget to predict is how small the places from my memory seem when I see them again. My nostalgia stretches things out so that they can wrap the whole world up in one event, one view, and one night. I go back to a courtyard entrance of a building made up of cheap studio apartments, and I seem like a giant. How did such big things happen in such a tiny, dingy place? How did the smell stick with me for all these years? How did my life get so shaken in a building that still stands?
I went back to my old Junior High school the other day. I walked up the same steps I walked up to sneak back into class almost twenty years ago. It seem so monumental, until I realize that kids who ended up dying in World War Two walked up those same steps before me. I wonder how small that playground seems to them now.
Time is amazing. A lifetime seemed so huge a few years ago. And now, like the apartment building, it seems a little smaller than I remember. But that is only when I look forward without remembering how much I have been able to do in the portion I have already explored.
Today I am nostalgic and excited. I have so much love in my heart for all the people in my life. I am so proud of my friends and my family. I am so happy that I still have so many people to meet, and things to see. As the buildings around me change, and take on new stories, I see it as a reflection of the changes in my own life. And while it is fun sometimes to remember what used to occupy the spaces, it never seems to give me any better ability to predict what will come next.
Thank God.

my spot

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