I was having breakfast at a restaurant this morning and the TV monitor on the wall facing me showed Washington, DC. There were uniforms, a band, fluttering flags … one of which was Canadian. Our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was visiting Barack Obama.
The two of them strode to the podium. They stood still, not speaking. The sound was off but I knew what was happening: the band was playing our national anthems. I was moved.
First of all, it was just two human beings who stood before me. Each doing their best in life to be happy. Then it was two men, not puffing out their chests and uttering a Tarzan call, but instead being in the moment. Then it was the leaders of two nations, with all the responsibility and heartaches that this entails.
I was glad to be watching. I felt a part of it. I’m no less nor more than the brothers I saw. And I say “brothers” knowing that the two leaders have policy disagreements, differing personalities and divergent histories.
Justin and Barack walked over to a small crowd of onlookers who stood behind a flimsy barrier. They walked down the line, shaking hands with young and old. I smiled. I also gulped. My brain created a memory of Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. 1963. Smiling faces greeted a smiling president as his motorcade proceeded down Elm Street. The rest is history.
Many times in my future life, I will stand beside another person. May I be present for the humanity near me, glimpsing the beauty within, thanking my lucky stars that I am not alone.