It Really is So Big

by Byron on September 25, 2014

Decker and Gibson,

Whenever I fly into Baltimore – whenever I fly into our home – I try to get my bearings, kind of see where I am.  Where are the landmarks?  Can I see the city?  My favorite spots?   Can I see our house?

Sometimes I see the city of Baltimore – the harbor, the stadiums, maybe even I-95.   However, I’m almost never able to concretely identify much else.  I look and look.

A few days ago I flew home from Chicago.  We were headed straight at Baltimore, then turned north a little east of Frederick.  We went right over Owings Mills.  I saw Grandma and Grandpas neighborhood.  I saw our neighborhood.  I saw all of Greenspring Valley, which truly does look like a valley.  I saw where the Beltway met the Jones Falls expressway.  I saw the Cathedral on Charles Street, I saw York Road turn into Greenmount Ave.  I saw Baltimore.  I saw Hopkins Hospital as we worked our way east.  I saw the entirety of east Baltimore in one sweeping glance.  We made a hard right out over the water and I was home.

What I noticed is how small it all looks from a few thousand feet.  You don’t even have to go all the way up. Just a few thousand feet and you see all that some people live and die for.

One of Mom’s co-workers was shot and killed less than a week ago.  He was waiting at the bus stop to go home and see his baby boy.  Some gang members drove up on the bus stop, aiming to kill someone else at the stop.  That someone else used Mom’s co-worker as a human shield.  Both died.  Really gruesome shit.  Shit that shouldn’t exist in this life, and hopefully won’t in the next.  But it does exist.

If only all those folks could see what I saw.  It’s just so big.  I don’t care how much power you think you have, you are really just tiny.  When you try to be bigger than life, control an area, exercise dominion over your fellow man, you set yourself up for failure.  From just three thousand feet up, even the biggest characters looked so tiny.

But that doesn’t make either of you boys any less majestic.  A star shimmers from far away, lighting up that which is dark around it.  The closer you get to it, the more you realize how bright it actually is, how much it does for the universe.  The light it gives off can support so much life around it.

You guys are stars.

I thought I knew where I was going with this, but now I’m not so sure.  I was impacted by what happened to mom’s friend and I was impacted by the majestic view I got of Baltimore City and I think those two things might be related in some way, even if I haven’t done a good job in showing you how.

The bottom line might be: some plane rides can make you appreciate both how small you are and how many people need your light.

Love you guys,

Dad

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