“You can do it! Keep going ! ”
Tiny voices yell out from 100 feet below. A 6 year old birthday party at a rock climbing gym where the children try out what most have never done. More importantly, they succeed with mutual cheering on.
The parents stand below, most baffled at what is happening, murmuring how frightened they themselves would be to attempt such an undertaking.
Shortly in all the excitement the children urge their parents on. “You can do it too! Try!”.
Much to my surprise nearly all mothers and fathers join in ignoring their underlying fear…and each slowly climb to the top and succeed to tiny cheers now mixed with grown up cheers from far below.
Something remarkable has just happened. A diverse group of 6 year olds from such different backgrounds have come together as a team and at the same time pulled their parents in. There is no white, black, hispanic, oriental, female, or male difference…everyone is the same…a frightened but excited climber …succeeding as they are cheered on.
My 6900 mile ride starts 4 weeks from today. I look forward to the adventure to bask in the glory of the American landscape. But more importantly I yearn for the freedom from the news and media which turns us into Red and Blue States, into the Right and the Left, into different camps at each others throats.
As before I will discover each day how alike we are all, linked in our daily concerns , our values almost identical in every way. Yes there are differences just as spices have different essences for a stew but we are all in the same pot with almost the same goals.
As the parents stood around watching their children climb they could ( and maybe did) look at each other and see different skin colors, different nations of origin, different aspects of life… but as climbers the differences melted into a ribbon of colors with no end.
There is much pessimism in the world, again nurtured by the media who glorify the world of the rich and powerful more for entertainment and profits that to report the “truth”.
The vast majority of us live below the radar of History.
I just finished a month teaching a remarkable young woman in PA school from a local University who I know will make the future a better place. I work in a Clinic with many young providers who give their 100% every day to help those greatly in need, those society has left behind. I think of the structure of the Clinic administration and the wealth of the talent of young people “making things work”, I talk to my son almost every day, a young man who has achieved humble success far beyond my wildest dreams and I see his wife an author , a local politician, and a mother doing better than I ever did.
I see a six year old climbing a massive wall and dragging others along.
I am optimistic for our future regardless of what the Media wants me to believe. The youth behind me is quietly, competently, pushing ahead.
And so now I prepare to ride again to nurture that optimism by climbing walls together with people I will meet along the way from as many diverse backgrounds as there are colors in the rainbow. I wish you all could come along and see for yourselves…
The PA student who finished today gave me a parting gift…home made cookies…a gift from my childhood from a thousand years ago…some things like the importance of gratitude never change.
We all know that…we are so alike in the end…
P.S. I have to confess I used two of these cookies to entice Flossie and Angel from their winter slumber
… I’m no fool, I know a good thing when I see it.
BTUSFMS here we come…