Sunday, August 26, 2012

The America Worth Fighting For

(This was originally posted on my Facebook page, but I thought I'd share...)

It has been a marathon day trip that involved speaking at 2 conferences -one in OC and one in LA and I was anxious to get home.

The day was over and I had gotten a coveted aisle seat in the front with an empty seat in between me and the window seat passenger.

Turns out that there was a mom with child and they needed a pair of seats, so I volunteered to give mine up...I was a bit annoyed at the sacrifice, but it seemed the right thing to do if for nothing else but to get us in the air and home.

I squeezed into a middle seat with 2 broad shouldered gentlemen who were probably as annoyed at me being in the middle as I was annoyed to be in the middle...but we all made the best of it.

The elderly man to my right struck up a conversation about the beautiful sunset as we took off and was very chatty.

He was on his way home from Utah, after visiting his brother. He told me about some of his struggles and the faltering health of his wife, as well as his daughter and unemployed son-in-law whose unemployment benefits just expired.

Midway through struggling to politely listen, I realized how amazing that this 78-year old gentleman - despite all of his challenges - still enjoyed the sunset, innocently flirted with the middle-aged flight attendant, and expressed his immense gratitude about his life and being able to live in an affordable assisted living facility with the help of Medicare.

He talked about how Blacks and Orientals all got along at his facility and how much he enjoyed being there. They had activities every night and happy hour on Fridays.

I couldn't help but think to myself that this is the America that we are fighting for. For my chatty seatmate, his life wasn't about ideological or partisan was about living a dignified and grateful life...appreciating the simple kindnesses each day brings us.

I deplaned the flight thinking how much I love this country because the America I know is as grateful as it is great and as kind as it is courageous.

I thought giving up my seat was a turns out I couldn't have been more wrong.

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