As I have told the story of my two week vacation, I have given a run-down of the Big Events, a visit to Julie and Tom in Boston, lobstering in Newburyport, a baseball game in New York City, two musicals, Quebec City, Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, great meals, etc.
Things happen on any trip that aren’t really Big Events, but may be noteworthy anyway.
Example: I am a walker, from two to four miles most days. I see stuff while walking that really had nothing to do with my intended destinations. Just wandering.
In Ottawa, Canada, on my early morning stroll through the woods, I came upon a small tent with a couple of teenagers camped out. I could see a shirtless young man inside the tent as I walked past, so I said Hello, and he responded. I was surprised to hear another response—from a young woman. She sounded happy. I said Hi to her as well, but never saw her. That was not how we dated in South Carolina in 1965, and least not how I dated. It’s a new world.
In New York City, I wanted to see whatever was replacing the World Trade Center, so I started walking the city streets in that direction. One person corrected me when I asked for help and said, “The Freedom Center.” Great name. I took a picture when I got close, but the top of The Freedom Center was lost in the clouds.
The best part of being an American is not our economic system, or our wealth, but our freedom to think, speak, worship, act, debate, and assemble. For those gifts, I am grateful.
Also, on this particular morning walk, I saw a makeshift shrine which had accumulating by a random storefront. Obviously, it was the scene of violence, a “hate crime.” Sad, painful stuff happens in our world. I wish I knew something clever to say in the face of violence, but I don’t. Freedom is risky. I don’t always get my way. Not everybody agrees about the same things. Life can be challenging. Bad things happen.
Still, my bottom line belief is that Life is Good. Even very poor children play games. Even the disabled appreciate beauty. Even in the midst of difficulty, words such as joy, compassion, friendship and kindness are important. Not satisfied with mourning death, we build shrines to announce our hope for a better world. May it be so.