I did a lot of people watching at the airport today. In many ways, an airport can paint quite the portrait of American life. There are people from many different racial and ethnic backgrounds here. People with physical disabilities, including a veteran with an artificial leg I saw laughing with his buddies.
Parents holding babies and people pushing wheelchairs. I hear different languages spoken as I walk by families. I see strangers helping others with their luggage, new acquaintances chatting casually in line, and many people talking on their phones with loved ones they will soon see.
I was 19-years-old when I took my first flight, but I always dreamed of traveling and seeing the world. I wanted so much to meet people different than me; to smell the air in a place outside of the small town I grew up in; to feel the ground of another place beneath my feet. I created imaginary trips for myself, planning out the details of each flight and the things I would do once I arrived at my imaginary destination.
Now, as an adult I get to have many of these adventures. I’m in awe of the technology that makes it possible to travel around the country and around the world in such a short period of time. I’m grateful for the opportunities I have to go places I’ve never been and meet people there.
I learn so much from each place I go. I learn to see the world differently than I did when I only knew my own small town. I’ve become a more worldly and humble person because of the worlds I’ve let into mine.
I celebrate the technology that opens this possibility to so many others who cannot physically travel as I do, but still long to see the world. Technology makes possible social connections between strangers who live on opposite ends of the world. Children in a classroom in Kenya can video chat with students in a classroom in Brooklyn or Shanghai or Moscow. How beautiful is that? We have so much to learn from each other!
Technology makes possible images of other worlds and images from the depths of our own bodies. Technology makes possible cures to disease and life-saving operations. Of course, technology has the potential to be used for negative things as well – it is, after all, at the mercy of humankind. And anything at the mercy of humankind whether animals or oceans, is at risk of abuse. Technology is no different.
Let us today be good stewards of all that has been entrusted to us and consider how we might use these things for good – to listen, to learn, to appreciate, and to open our minds to the beauty that exists outside of our own communities. I’m doing that today from 30,000 feet. And what a view it is!
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