We all have so many differences in common

By Janet Walgren
Upon returning home after a visit to her friend’s house, my daughter Helen was ecstatic. She loved cats and Sabrina’s cats were the best. Helen was trying to tell me about the cats and just how wonderful they were, but for an eight year old, the joy and wonderment of it all was just too overwhelming. When words failed to relate her feelings she simply clasp her hands together as she gleefully exclaimed, “Oh mom, they have so many differences in common!”

Profound truths come from the mouths of children and I will never forget that moment when my daughter uttered that profound truth. We all have so many differences in common.

I love my job. I am the Student Success Manager for the Enlightened Wealth Institute. I get paid to listen to people and collect their business success stories on a company website.  Occasionally I have the privilege of collecting them in person. Last week was such an occasion when I traveled to Los Angeles to interview students who were attending an entrepreneurial workshop. The students were high achievers in the world of business and delightful to associate with. I enjoyed my time with them and was a little sad when the week was over.

On my flight home, I was assigned a window seat (my favorite) and was just settling in when a young man, 23 years of age came and sat beside me. I am sixty years old and pretty conservative. The young man had multiple piercings on his face and ears and was covered with tattoos. He smelled of cigarette smoke and looked thin and frail. Most people my age would have been inclined to fain sleep or stare out of the window, but not me. I introduced myself and had a delightful conversation for the duration of the flight.

It turned out that he was returning from a three year adventure teaching English in China. I love all things Asian and delighted in my captive tutor as I inquired about a number of topics pertaining to China. I was feeling a little sad as our plane landed in Salt Lake City, but then he asked if he could use my cell phone to call his momma. I gladly dialed the number and handed him the phone. Then, I heard squeals of delight as he announced his surprise return to his mother. She was ecstatic and he could hardly contain his emotions. It brought so much joy to me as I remembered so many like occasions in my own life’s journey. It was such a fitting end to a wonderful trip and I revelled in the warmth of the truth that we all have so many differences in common. Love is the best part of our human condition.


5 Responses to We all have so many differences in common

  1. Holly says:

    Those are fun stories. It’s so nice when you get to help someone out with something simple like borrowing a phone and have it mean so much to them. That’s good that you just started talking to that guy. I have trouble opening my mouth sometimes, especially if the other person seems like they’re a lot different from me. I really agree with your last statement “Love is the best part of our human condition.”

  2. Wish i had the talent to write such posts.

  3. Holly,

    I find talking to someone is very easy for me because people are so interesting. People are so much better than a book because they have so many stories and books inside them. The only thing that I regret is that I usually only get to read a part of a chapter in typical stranger encounters.

    I enjoy reading your blog. It always makes me feel good:) Thanks for your comment.


    I find writing easier when I just write what I think and say. Just start telling a story in your heart and let it transfer to the page. Tell a story about your facts. That would be interesting. Anyway I didn’t write for years because I was too embarrassed about my writing, spelling and grammar. Now I wish that I had not been so self conscious. I love computers and spell check. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.!

  4. marlajayne says:

    Great story. I find that working with young people is quite energizing; plus, it keeps me in touch with what’s happening in today’s world. As a quick example, my female students will often comment on my appearance and sometimes give me subtle hints about how to improve it! You might think I’d find that insulting, but I don’t. I’m just glad that they think there’s hope!

    About the young man on the plane, what I like so much about it is that you looked beyond appearances and saw a fellow human being. I also like thinking about his mother and their connection. Regardless of race, religion, or politics, there’s just something universal and transcending about love.

  5. Thanks Marlajayne. Love really is universal and transcends everything. I can’t describe the feeling that came over me when I heard his mother squeal for joy. It was wonderful and so was he.

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