Birds-Eye View  

17.3.09

Tiny cardboard houses between tissue paper trees and grey felt roads. That's what it looked like, just a model city. An incredibly detailed and tiny model city. It wasn't, of course. It was Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland and a hugely popular tourist destination. My home. But from the air, everything looks tiny. Fascinating and detailed, like somebody spent many many hours carefully handcrafting each building and tree and road, and then set it all in motion. Really quite amazing. I was sitting next to Renata, sharing a window with her and craning my neck at an awkward angle to see out, and she said to me, “It's weird to think that once we get down there, we will be tiny people to all the planes too.” And I just thought, 'Wow! That's kind of deep, I need to think about this one.'
There were actually two things I got out of that birds-eye view. The first is that mankind thinks too highly of itself in general. We think, 'Look what I built! My city/tower/warehouse/villa is amazing! Look what I've done!' We get the Babel mentality happening. Build a city, make a name for ourselves. Look at me! Sometimes we get so caght up in the dusty grimy city streets we forget all that's out there. We need to slow down, zoom out, and recapture that sense of awe for all that G-d has done and made and is. Life isn't about us.
The second is that each individual person also often thinks too highly of themselves in comparison to others. To me sitting in that areoplane, I was a normal person, a full-size person, a 'real' person. The others were tiny, insignificant. Mildy interesting to a quick observation, but really barely even in my perception. How often is that the case in everyday life? There's us, then our peer or social group, the other passengers on our plane, so to speak. And then everyone else. Hardly noticable, barely there. Just tiny dots going about their insignificant lives over there somewhere. As long as they keep out of our faces, we're happy to just ignore them.
What is wrong with us? Where is the love of G-d in that? Are we not supposed to shine His love and His light? I know this is easier said than done. I personally have a really, really hard time with it. But that is what we are called to do. To love the unloved, the forgotten ones, all the tiny people that it's so much easier to ignore. Flying over Brisbane, I don't know what the population is. I think around the million mark, maybe more. I don't know almost any of those people. I know maybe thirty people in Brisbane. I hate to admit it, but those other people really mean nothing to me. I don't know them, they don't know me. They're just nameless faces doing various, nameless things. Annonymous. But G-d! He knows them all perfectly! He knows how many hairs on the head of each. He knows their names, their thoughts, their hopes, their dreams. He knows their sins and their struggles and their pain. He loves them, personally and deeply. And He wants us to understand that, and to love them too. They are His children. Just like we are His children. It's time to be a little kinder to strangers. They are people just like us, are loved just like us, and need love. Just like us.

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