So last August, 2014, there we were at 37,000 feet flying west to our beloved home away from home, Kauai, Hawaii. From San Antonio, our connecting flight was direct from Phoenix to Kauai, and about 90 minutes from landing in paradise, one of the pilots spoke from the flight deck: “Well, folks, we won’t be getting any closer, but on the left side of our aircraft you’ll see Hurricane Iselle. We are about 200 miles away from her, and it’s a good picture of the storm.” He sure was correct about that; the huge circle of clouds was exactly like the ones we had seen on the weather channel numerous times, and clear as anything, right in the middle was a dark black hole, “the eye of the storm.” It was eerie, but then we turned back, lowered our window shade and continued flying smoothly in very calm skies…quite safe in “our own little world.” We landed in Kauai, sunny warm weather, got our luggage, picked up our rent car, and checked in; it was only 2 PM. We went up to our room, said a prayer for our safety, looked out on Nawiliwili Bay and Kalapaki Beach, drove up to Kukui Grove Market to stock our fridge. Within twenty four hours, the big island, Hawaii, 340 miles to the southeast was hit by Iselle, high winds, flooding, erosion, power outages, homes damaged, and people injured. Kauai received some increased rainfall. The next two weeks were sunny warm typical paradise. We were quite safe and content in “our own little world.”
On April 27, 1979 in San Antonio, Texas, the annual Battle Of Flowers parade was about to start at Broadway and Grayson streets. Our family was there, with my parents and four children of close friends. We sat on Grayson Street just behind a motor home that was parked in a lot on the corner. Numerous school marching bands and police stood around waiting for the procession to start. Suddenly we heard a “crack” and I saw a policeman grab his leg and fall in the street. More loud “cracks” erupted from the motor home, and then I saw policemen with weapons drawn, firing in our direction. We grabbed kids and rushed back down Grayson with dozens of screaming band members, parents, and crying children. It was mass hysteria and panic!
A few minutes later, we stopped under the overpass of highway 281, huddling there with dozens of terrified folks. Over to one side were several horses and riders dressed in beautiful costumes; the horses were decorated with saddles of silver buckles, ready to entertain the thousands of folks lining the streets. We could hear sirens and police radios. We waited fearfully, not knowing when or where more gunfire might explode. In another forty minutes or so, the sirens had stopped, and we wondered if perhaps peace had been restored. My five year old could not wait any longer, and I moved with her over near some bushes, and she was able to do what lots of adults needed! As we walked back, we passed those gorgeous horses and riders, and I overheard one lady rider remarking angrily to another about the disruption. She appeared bored, out of sorts, and just couldn’t understand why “those cops” couldn’t get “this $%^&*(@# parade moving!” She was sure enough living in her “own little world,” and the disruption of the last couple of hours or so was just a big inconvenience.
Not one hundred yards back at Grayson and Broadway however, another “little world” was dealing with something far different from boredom and impatience. Fifty-one people were suffering gunshot wounds, two women lay dead; in the motor home that we were sitting beside, Ira Attaberry, a long haul trucker who hated “cops” for an incident involving his truck and some children years ago, was among the dead. He had parked there for a long time to take out his anger for what he considered an injustice, and in a few moments, two women, fifty-one others, and hundreds of good bystanders found there “little worlds” changed forever.
As Kath and I flew smoothly along that August day, I jotted down a few notes about “our own little world.” Off to our left, Hurricane Iselle was moving steadily toward the big island bringing plenty of misery. I thought, just how aware am I about the “little world” of others. I know it’s easy to get caught up in stuff. Mercy, my laundry list stays full all the time. When I get up somewhere between 3:30 and 5, that’s what I do, brew one cup of 8 O’Clock Original coffee, watch the weather channel, and make notes about my day and the rest of the week. No, no computer generated whatevers; it’s still 3 x 5 cards for me…they fit in my shirt pocket, I don’t have to charge any batteries, I don’t care too much if one gets lost, and updates are simple. But, it’s still MY little world. As I looked at those huge ugly circular clouds, I knew at some point, somewhere, some folks would feel the wrath of that wind and rain. Some would have their “little worlds” upset, disrupted, and for some, perhaps, end.
My point today, gentle reader, is “how’s your eyesight?” Not so much the optics, but the mind/heart sight. How’s my effort to look inside the “little world” of others? No, we don’t need to make drastic overreaching changes; within our own circle of life, there are plenty of places where a little awareness can have a big impact in the “little world” of someone rather close by. An old hymn kinda catches the thought, “Have you lifted a stone from your brother’s way, as he travels along life’s road; have you lovingly touched some frail toil-worn hand, shared with someone their heavy load.” Remember, like water running downhill, focusing on “our own little world” is sooo easy, but by staying inside it, we can miss sooo much good that can not only warm another’s heart but even our own…”from my heart to yours”…see ya next time…