Ain’t Life Grand?
Posted Friday, May 21st, 2010
Life is a web of intersecting paths, and by the time you get to my age, there have been plenty of intersections. Sometimes those paths cross briefly, and sometimes they merge for the rest of the journey.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about some of the folks whose paths have crossed and merged with mine over the years ― and especially about many of those who have come into my life during the past year.
It was about a year ago that I allowed myself to be pushed ― kicking and screaming ― into becoming involved in Facebook and Twitter (thank God for those who did the pushing!), and by now the kicks and screams have been replaced by gratitude and celebration.
Some of the people I’ve met and talked with (though seldom in person) have become true friends and are playing major roles in my life, many of them giving freely of their own time and expertise to help an older guy feel more comfortable in this arena, and I will be forever grateful to them.
Experiencing this phenomenon lends itself to all kinds of musings. I’m thinking of my parents, who lived in the same small town in Ohio for their entire lives. How many people crossed their paths over the course of their lifetimes, and how were their lives affected?
I chose to spread my wings and leave that town at 18 to continue my own journey in a different way. I’ve lived in many different places, had experiences I never could have predicted, and crossed paths with thousands of people whom I never would have encountered had I chosen to follow my parents’ model.
Now, anyone who is so inclined can meet and get to know and learn from and be inspired by people from around the world without ever having to leave home. And the encounters don’t even need to be entirely random. We can easily identify people who share our world views and then begin to exchange ideas and learn from each other.
And it becomes easier for each generation. It would have been a much greater challenge for folks of my parents’ generation than it has been for me to explore life and meet people and have the opportunities that have come my way. What has seemed logical and easy to me would have been almost unthinkable to them.
And now people of my children’s generation (and that includes many of you) find it almost effortless to use the internet to connect with people who can change their lives, but whom they might never meet, while for folks like me the process is far from intuitive.
Yet the impact is the same. The unity of spirit that we all share hasn’t changed, but the opportunities to connect and touch the lives of others have exploded.
Then my mind begins to wander and wonder about the remarkable beings who are joining us as part of my grandson Easy’s generation and the opportunities they will be given (and will make for themselves) to touch the lives of others and change the world.
The experiences available to us during life’s journey keep changing and evolving over time, but the nature of the journey and the opportunities it offers for growth and understanding, and for sending ripples out into the world, stay the same. Ain’t life grand?