I finally started actually typing up my bucket list.
Things I’ve always wanted to do, since I was little… since just yesterday. I plan to add and subtract from it until the day I kick the bucket with vigor. Or pass away very peacefully in my sleep.
I was able to check off one of those items on my flight to Denver! Who would have thunk.
- Visit with a German, who lived in Germany during WWII, learn about their life and experience during that era.
After I had an exciting time catching my flight, I claimed my window seat and the delightful, elderly man I squeezed past squinted at me, got all up in my buiss-nass and said, “You’re the shoe! We’ve been waiting for that final shoe to drop and here you are!”
He held a magnifying glass and Business Weekly in his tan, weathered hand. He wore a distinguished blue blazer with gold buttons and shiny brown penny loafers. His eyes had seen so much life. They now viewed the world behind glaucoma in one and poor eyesight in the other. His ears, which had heard 80 years of lives great sorrows and joys, were assisted with the latest technology. His face was freckled with evidence of a long, adventurous life. I wished I could have photographed him.
Richard, the German who lived there during WWII from 3-14 years of age, who then went to school in New York and lived in a Lutheran orphanage. Who had to process through how indoctrinated he had become in the Arian race ideals he had become during his primary schooling. I asked a lot of personal questions about his experience in Germany and transitioning to America. He was open with what he could remember. He was great. At 24, adventure called and he struck out for Alaska and homesteaded outside of Anchorage with several friends. Now he lives in Arizona with “boring people” as he called them. Too afraid to talk about anything that might stir up controversy. “Where’s the fun in life then?” He demanded.
Richard and I enjoyed a complex conversation the entire flight. I normally dislike talking to people on the plane (shocking, I know). But it’s normally a nice time to read, nap, look out the window and ponder life… Not small talk for 2+ hours. Vomit.
When people ask me where I live or what I do, I can either give them the short “let’s not get too deep” answer, or the “you really want to know… here we go…” answer. When people ask me what I do and I tell them I work at Bible Camp, they either respond with a glazed over look…”Oh, that’s nice,” or “oh, good for you,” they give a nice smile and nod. Then drop the topic like a hot rock. Religion is OFF limits. But I understand and I don’t usually push it. But if they instigate a deeper conversation, it’s usually really fun to see what they’ll say next….
It was quickly established that Richard is a philosopher, an agnostic, and an intellectual who enjoys conversing about many diverse topics. Before I put my seatbelt on, he had all ready gotten to the “what do you do” question and we dove head first right into, is there a God? Is evolution or is creation real? Why does God let bad things happen? Is global warming going to destroy our world within a century? Do humans have a soul? How do you define a soul? Is this soul evolving or is there evidence it has evolved along with human evolution? Don’t all religions believe the same thing? Is there an afterlife? Is there really a heaven or hell? Do humans have a purpose in life? What is God’s character? And on and on…
I loved it! Richard was thoughtful with his questions and answers, and we both allowed an equal challenge without defensiveness. Neither he nor I were not combative or adamant about his perspective. Exactly what I enjoy with a perfect stranger. People who are willing to discuss with an open mind, not necessarily reaching a final conclusion on the topic. I enjoy learning to defend my faith…learning to respond to questions I have not been asked. I desire to understand another person’s perspectives what’s lead them to believe it. Neither of us were trying to convince the other, just challenge each other.
I told him if I lived in Arizona, we’d have coffee and continue this discussion. I have WAY more questions for him than what could be asked on a 2.5 hour flight. I don’t believe in fate or luck, but that there is a purpose in everything. It was a delightful, purposeful meeting. Ask me about it someday, it was the most memorable visits I’ve ever had!