I was late getting my boarding pass and therefore obligated to choose a middle seat on my Southwest Air flight to San Diego. I chose the nearest to the front of the plane. As I squeezed by the woman in the aisle seat I realized that the man in the window seat looked like a former linebacker, tall and broad across the chest. A big man. He was holding his Kindle tidily in front of his chest, but even so, his arm lapped over into my space. The woman on the aisle opened her tray as soon as we took off and began working on her laptop.
My mind started grumbling to itself about every possible grumble-able aspect of my situation: my tardiness in getting my boarding pass, my having forgotten that my ear buds were in the pocket of my jacket now stowed in the overhead rack, the "ridiculous" size of economy seats, my travel companions taking up "too much" of our shared space.
The grumbling in my mind went on picking up speed until I remembered that the title of the talk I was scheduled to give that evening was "Befriending Our Lives: Healing the Divisiveness in Ourselves, Our Relationship, Our Communities and Our World." I almost laughed out loud. Instead, I turned to the man on my left and said the magic word, "Hello!"
In less than a minute the conversation we started caught the interest of the woman on my right who shut her laptop and joined in. We talked about families and politics and books we were reading and I don't know how it was for them but for me, I was a bit disappointed when we got to our gate and needed to go our separate ways because I was interested in all their ideas.
I think I'll use that title for everything I teach this year. I’ll be teaching for two days at Spirit Rock in April and I hope that you'll join me. Find information at calendar.spiritrock.org/events/befriending-your-life.