I am amazed to discover ours is a small world after all. The other day I was looking for a book to read and asked my daughter if she had anything for me in her vast library that is her a bedroom. She came out with Three Cups of Tea, a book about an American mountain climber, Greg Mortensen, who ended up building schools in rural villages in Pakistan.
Not being a mountain climber, at least not the kind to attempt to summit anything in the Himalayas, I didn’t know if I would be able to relate to it. Even so, it didn’t take long for me to be hooked by the compelling story. In particular, I was surprised to learn when he is not in Pakistan, he resides with his family in my hometown of Bozeman, Montana.
That connection had an interesting effect on me. Pakistan and its people no longer seemed so far away. Then, another interesting thing happened to impress upon me how connected we really are in this world.
I recently became friends with someone who had the privilege of spending some time with Miep Gies, the woman who helped Anne Frank hide from the Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II. I have read The Diary of Anne Frank, but I never would have imagined I would ever know someone who knew someone who knew her! It’s not that I am excited about having a link to a famous person. What impresses me is how all my life World War II and the Nazis seemed so far away from my world, yet all of a sudden a connecting fiber appeared.
This happens to my mother all the time. She could be on a canoe paddling up some river in Alaska, and she would probably meet some folks paddling their canoe in the other direction and they’d end up talking for a few minutes and discover how they were related somehow through an uncle’s cousin’s ex-wife’s sister. That sort of “it’s a small world” thing doesn’t happen to me. At least, not until now.
Now, I am beginning to experience for myself just how connected we are on this planet. It reminds me of something I heard someone say many years ago . . . Whatever we do to others we ultimately do to ourselves.