In a crowded airport and on a full flight, I see plenty of people. And the chances of me ever seeing them again are infinitely small. They pass by with their suitcases in tow. Sometimes there are children, and sometimes dogs. So many of them are on their cell phones. They are texting or watching YouTube cat videos or possibly they are on Tik Toc.
Each one has a place they are from.
Most have homes. They live in houses, apartments, townhouses, guest houses, or even geodesic domes. They have a place they will return to. It’s hard to visualize all these people in their homes, on their couches, watching their TVs. Or doing their laundry. Will they have a washer and dryer? Or must they load up bags or baskets and go to the laundromat?
I am now wondering why I care about this.
What does it matter to me if someone eats out regularly, or that they love to cook? They will shop for ingredients and then spend time preparing a meal for themselves and others. Their specialty may be BBQ ribs, as mine is. Or perhaps they are gifted bakers or can make marvelous pastries.
The world is full of people who all think of themselves as unique.
We are taught this just as we are taught that no two snowflakes are the same shape. And the reality of this is we are unique. No one will ever be me in the same way that I am me. That sounds quite poetic or perhaps fatalistic. And the spots at the top of the people pyramid are few.
Only a handful of us will ever be JFK, Martin Luther King Jr., or Joan of Ark.
That leaves millions of us who will be born, live, and then die without being known to the world. Now that is not to say that we will not make an impression among the circles of people we interact with. I have read hundreds of accounts of individuals who have made a difference.
Perhaps that is the best most of us can hope for; to make a difference.
It is my hope that I have in some way enriched or bettered the lives of people I have encountered. Based on very limited feedback, it appears that this is true. Even as I live with depression, I still try to be kind to others.
I treat people the way I expect to be treated.
This means I give people the benefit of the doubt. I expect them to behave appropriately. When they do, life is good for all of us. When they do not, well I accept responsibility for my thoughts about their actions. This means I expected a certain level of decorum.
Now I must change my thinking and change my expectations.
I’m not sure I know where I am going with this today. It just struck me as I was walking through the airport the other day, that I will never see these people again. And maybe that is not important. But as members of humanity, it seems at least a little bit important.
But what I do with that feeling is a mystery.
And how is it that most of us will never be known beyond our communities? What makes someone an influencer and many others, just data entry? Most of us will be a statistic somewhere. We were born, lived, and then died.
I will be a statistic.
With a few decades left on this earth, the chances of me being the cream that rises to the top is getting less and less. There are things I have accomplished I am so proud of, my children for example. And there are things that I wish I could get a “do-over” for.
Without being the cream, is my life worthwhile?
As billions of us will not be cream, I have to say that each life matters. It isn’t about being known worldwide. My life, I trust, will be measured in service to others. If I can make a difference today, in the way I live, then perhaps I can make someone else’s life a tiny bit better.
Oh, and did I mention that I like getting up in the morning because I learn something new every day?
Our world is so amazing. There is so much to see, to do, to learn about. And while what I learn may not become instant news the planet needs to know, what I learn makes a difference to me. And some of what I learn I can pass along to others when appropriate.