During this week you’ll find greater meaning and depth in each person you meet, and you’ll practice deeper compassion by recognizing the invisible suffering that surrounds you.
Lessons learned from a used boarding pass
After a local flight, as I was about to toss a used boarding pass into the garbage, I took a second look at it. An hour prior, this was perhaps the most important document I had on me. It was the complete identification I needed to get on the airplane. I paid special attention to keep it secure. And now it had no value.
I opened the boarding pass and closely looked at the amazing zigzag of the bar code, which somehow made sense to a scanner and connected the pass to me. It didn’t look like me at all, but it had my fingerprint. Each day, according to the latest statistics, a paper (or its electronic version) like this helps about eight million people travel across the globe. I thanked this little piece of paper for the value it served. And then I gently let it go.
I know that the meaning that connects me with many people, who are precious and indispensable in my life today, will fade. But people aren’t boarding passes. My boarding pass, once used, literally lost its complete value at the termination of the flight. It couldn’t serve anyone else. But people who move out of my life will become precious and indispensable to someone else. If I could be grateful to my used boarding pass today, I should be infinitely grateful to the people who came into my life and then moved into someone else’s.
A few thousand years ago, an average tribe had about 150 members. Some researchers believe that 150 (often called Dunbar’s number) is about the maximum number of meaningful social connections we can maintain, before life starts getting out of balance. Yet with agriculture, food processing, transportation, wholesale, retail, marketing, media, and food technology, hundreds of millions of people collaborate globally to bring my lunch plate. How can I not be grateful to each of them?
Irrespective of the current value to me, every person is precious and indispensable to someone. I should recognize that value and honor each person for who they are and what purpose they serve. I should also strive to find a connection in these unique individual purposes, for even though our flight destinations may seem different, once the journey is complete, the flights eventually will take us back to the same home.
The different purposes we all serve eventually unite to a single goal—to create a kinder, happier, and more hopeful world for our planet’s children.
May you be privileged to create kindness, happiness, and hope for our planet’s children.
@AmitSoodMD (on Twitter)