I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” To me equality equals respect. I can’t imagine anyone, particularly parents, who was not moved with great sorrow by the senseless shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As the facts were revealed I am certain every parent and every kind hearted empathetic person learning of this news felt a pit in their stomach. Like most overly reported news I wanted to watch and didn’t want to watch. I did watch a lot however. Our boys did not ask a lot of questions and I was both surprised and relieved by that. Can you explain something you can’t even make sense of yourself? On Sunday night I was putting away laundry, not my favorite task, but a necessary event. I had the TV on and the Vigil started. I am not a very religious person but I was so overwhelmed with pride as an American to see so many faiths share the same venue. It seemed so simple in so many ways that everyone’s faith should be represented; yet religious beliefs and persuading others to observe your faith have been and still are the subject of wars and conflicts all over the world. Here in this small Connecticut town we had representatives of almost every faith I know of sharing a stage, chanting or reciting what was meaningful to their faith, without any negativity, hatred, or violence. I want to take away from this the possibility of true tolerance and coexistence.
Today I was flying back from Jacksonville to Ft. Lauderdale with my boss. The plane was overbooked and we knew every seat would be filled. My boss was on the aisle and I was in the middle. One row ahead, across the aisle from us at the window seat was a young man that clearly had some form of autism spectrum disorder. If you have a kid with this disorder you can spot them a mile away. There was no one sitting in the middle between him and a very nice man on the end. The young man, whose name is William, was loud. I asked my boss if he would mind if I switched my seat to sit next to William. I wanted to make sure that no one else would sit next to him, fearing some sort of unpleasantness. I sat down in between William and the other man, whose name is Bruce. (they were not together). William was warm and engaging but was definitely inappropriate in his loudness and some of the things he said. He told everyone we were best friends and asked to be my facebook friend. He told me he was from NY and that he was a NY Giants fan. YAY!!! The flight was about an hour. He hugged me several times and we talked about his family and that he is 20 and he wants to get a job and a girlfriend. He was going to get married someday and invite me to the wedding!! People were looking at me like I was so nice. I have my good days but I am not overly nice!! I had a few thoughts floating in my mind:
1. I hope someone would be kind to my son if he was able to fly by himself.
2. People, no matter what their disability, must be valued and respected.(the man next to me was such a doll; he engaged with William and was kind and caring.)
3. Nothing gives you perspective like innocence.