It was a brief moment that hit me someplace deep, during the normally mundane task of taking my son to his orthodontic appointment.
I told the orthodontist of our plans to be out of the country the next few months and we discussed how to plan my son’s care. Then he asked, with the usual raised eyebrow, “Oh… What are you going to be doing in Nicaragua? Vacation?”
I told him about our plans for the coming year, school for Sam, studying Spanish together and my work hosting cultural immersion travel excursions.
It clearly jogged his memory of living and traveling for a time in Germany while studying abroad because he shared briefly about learning the language and about the culture and how much he enjoyed it. Then he said, “Did you hear about the car that crashed into the German Christmas market yesterday?”. I hadn’t heard, but later would catch stories on the radio as I listened to the news. I paused a moment as I imagined what both his mouth and eyes had just said to me.
He was telling me about an incident that happened someplace far away, yet it was close to him in his mind, in his thoughts. That’s what his eyes were saying, I realized. He had spent time there, knew people there, and then hearing about that tragic experience in that same place clearly made him feel something more.
My response came out because I could imagine that scenario myself, “It touches you more, doesn’t it?” I said. Because he had lived there, I could see that the tragedy struck him on a more personal level than if it had happened somewhere he’d never been. To him it wasn’t just any old story of tragedy from around the world, it was a tragedy to people he cared about.
The moment was over quickly but it meant so much to me, to see him feel on a deeper level about someplace he cared about but was a million miles away. Clearly there was a connection from his travel.
My wish for you in the new year is that you may have an experience that leaves you more caring, compassionate, and feeling more love for someone, someplace in our world.
It’s needed. You’re needed.