We've been seeing people. The same people again and again as we journey across lands and jungles, through the air and on the sea. Months apart, we've been seeing the same people.
They weave in and out of our travels like blades of grass. Their faces make our hearts rest well. Synchronicity. It tells us that we are in the right place. Familiar people on a journey into the unfamiliar. Their faces shine like pearls when we see them again.
And in fact, that's how we recognize them. There was that Israeli family we saw six months ago as we boarded the plane to New York from Ben Gurion. We saw them again in Thailand four months later, staying on a beach on the other side of Kophangan. The children still "found beauty in our eyes." Their faces were glowing; their wide mouths open to catch the wind as we pushed through the sea on the Thai water taxi we shared. What are the chances?
Raphaël and the camera man in Bangkok before boarding the plane to Amman. The Dutch couple from the bike tour in Hoi An, suddenly crossing the street in Hanoi; the young French couple from Halong Bay, again in Hanoi. The family from our flight from Da Nang Vietnam, to the north. A circling of familiar faces, twirling around us serendipitously. If you're reading this, we send you hellos!
Traveling humbles you, and if I wasn't already compelled to do so before, I am now even more compelled to smile at everyone. Inciting the human, God-given joy that we all share, no matter our differences. We want to bring out the good in people as we push our way through the world. It is, after all, the only way for us to grow the "beloved community."
On the plane to Amman, Jordan, I watched the Muslim families love their children. One father, like a big teddy bear, offered a playful love, an inner-child love to his daughter, as he bounced her up and down and then brought her forehead to his. Aviv stood up to go to the bathroom and waited next to their seats briefly. And suddenly my heart saw possibility, and the teamwork and magic that these two cultures can create together, if they only admitted that they hold the same joy inside. Jews and Muslims, Arabs and Israelis....Blacks and Whites, Men and Women, the list goes on. I feel it between all of us - a force of human goodness that is begging to find connection. It's there now, but something deep is preventing it from flowing. These cultures, these faiths, us people, are still holding onto our old stories, clutching our differences with our lives. I feel that, subconsciously, we are all trying to find some way to forgive and let go of our old stories. Subconsciously, we are trying to become open to the new ones.
And it cannot happen without love, without forgiveness. Without humility.
How can billions of people learn to forgive themselves? Forgive their old stories? Forgive each other? Forgive generations that are now gone? Let go of all that?
I guess the question isn't how, but do we want to? Are we consciously ready?
Does humanity want to forgive? Create new space for something brighter? For profound life and culture, friendship, love and creation? Do we want the dream?
Perhaps if Aviv and I can leave a trail of raw human joy everywhere we go, we will help remind people that all we really want, all of us, is to belong and feel love. One world, you know? A beloved community.
We flew to Israel a month ago, almost to the day, to be here when we lost a beloved grandfather.
Saba Shalom, your name was "Grandfather Peace," after all.
And now, the adventure continues. Mexico, here we come!