It was Sunday night, five days after the election. I had just sat down to watch my new favorite “forget about the world” TV show when the explosions began. Like bombs, I thought. I jumped, already too much adrenaline coursing. My heart banging something fierce. More explosions. Into the kitchen I went, then back into the bedroom, back into the kitchen. My eyes darting, bulging. Short choppy breath. More explosions. I clutched my cell phone, as if. Couldn’t think who to call. Or what to say. Stuck my head out my second story window, saw a dad grab a kid and run, saw a man frozen on his doorstep. Too many trees to see the sky. Too many car alarms and barking dogs. More explosions. Blast after blast. My cat, her eyes wild. “So this is how it ends”, I thought. So this is how it ends.
And then nothing. Silence. No fire engines, police sirens. No screaming or wailing. Just silence. “Breathe,” I commanded. Breathe.
It was Sunday night, five days after the election. Karen and her family sat down to dinner just as the explosions began. From their tenth floor apartment window, they had front row seats to watch the fireworks for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the mall across the street. “Oh it was so beautiful,” she told me days later. “The whole sky lit with a bouquet of color. Our whole family at dinner, watching the show.” She was smiling as she remembered the evening.
Where you stand makes all the difference. It is not easy to bridge the gap between the metaphoric second and tenth floors. What will allow us to view the world from one another’s windows? How will that perspective give us compassion for one another?
At this Thanksgiving, practice looking out the window from the second floor, the third floor, the tenth floor. Open your heart. What do you see?