Sitting on the subway yesterday going to work, I noticed two kids. Sitting, facing the window perched on their knees, watching. Staring intently for long, uninterrupted minutes. They were entranced almost, watching the fast-moving, slight colors of metal and pavement whiz by. I stood there watching them watching. Thinking, they exuded a sense of anticipation, hope. They were waiting. About to joyfully pounce, arms outstretched into the first sign of life.
Standing on the subway, the sense of disconnectedness I felt deepened, while literally touching, with my shoulders, the edges of my hands while holding the rail or my feet through my shoes. I looked to those two children, not yet even seven, and felt hope. They saw the same old pavement and metal and ground that we all see in the subway but they kept their eyes open. They kept reaching towards life, toward connection. They wanted to see the next station. They wanted to watch the people walking, moving in and out of their reality. They were excited to see what was coming. Who was coming. What and who was being left behind. They watched, eyes bright, in hopeful anticipation.
I thought about this while walking out of the subway on to State street. Which is in the financial district of Boston, so super ritzy, lots of tall stone or cement buildings and busy traffic. Looking out, I saw walls. Lots of walls. Everywhere. Corner walls, side walls, everything was compartmentalized, shut off. Separate. The only shared space was outside and it was narrow and linear and fuddled up. Streets curved and intersected and spread out not at all according to organization or simplicity. And as a result, the shared space felt confined, boxy.
I thought about the kids. Looking at the cement. The dirt. The metal. And I looked up. And this is what I saw. This picture. Up there. It was open. It was bright. And it was expansive. I felt hope. I felt opportunity for bigger connection, bigger understanding because there were no walls up there. There was just sky. And blue.
I love kids. Just by being kids, they teach me. We are all teachers and we are all students. If we could just get past the skepticism and judgement that tells us that we can't learn from someone. Because when you learn from someone, you are connected to them in a way that you aren't otherwise. You see part of them and they show you a part of yourself that neither of you knew was there.
I hope you look up, look out and reach towards others. Reach toward yourself first to learn but remember that no one lives on an island completely alone, ever. And we are all apart of this world, this life, this society. We are walking, standing, riding alongside one another and that's how we need it to be.