I’m sitting here at 37,000 feet cruising at 850 kmh on my way to somewhere.
I’m going due east with about 100 other people. I assume half of them are headed home, and the other half, like me, are heading away from home for one reason or another.
I take about 50 flights per year. The vast majority are for work, and I try to be as productive as possible on these flights. But I’m usually distracted by the people around me.
Before this day, these other 100 people have been who knows where, just living their lives. In two hours, we’ll all scatter again. But in the meantime, we are all together, forced into close proximity with no option to leave.
Who are these people? Maybe there’s someone famous on board I haven’t recognized. Maybe someone is mourning a loved one and on their way to a funeral. Maybe there are CLAC members on board. I wish I knew so I could introduce myself. Maybe there is someone who committed a serious crime and was never caught. Probably not. Hope not.
There’s a professional-looking man who appears to be in his 50s a few rows up from me who’s been watching cartoons the whole flight. Maybe he needs the distraction from a high-stress job.
There’s a woman across the aisle from him who has been flipping through channels on the inflight entertainment screen. She hasn’t watched the same thing for more than five minutes.
There’s a guy across the aisle from me who is just sitting there, not sleeping, not watching, not reading. Just sitting there. Maybe he’s thinking about life.
The world is a bit messed up these days. The news is full of pain and hardship—stories of misfortune and of people doing bad things to other people. Has politics ever been more difficult to tolerate? Politicians are supposed to be our best and brightest—the exemplars of society.
Watching or reading the news, I’m almost encouraged not to like or trust other people. And here I am surrounded by strangers.
I won’t let the apparent hostility in the world rob me of the joy of living among others. I choose to assume the best of all of them. I find that when I do that, I feel affection for them, even though I don’t know who they are. And that causes me to be more gracious with others and more patient.
I feel the same way about our members. There’s some 60,000 of you, and I only know a very small number of you personally. But I love that we, at CLAC, get to serve you in your workplace. We have a chance to make your life a little better. We are, after all, in the people business, and CLAC only exists to serve you as best we can, in as many ways as we can think of.
As a union, we are strong, and we are tough when we need to be. But we choose to err on the side of grace, to search first for the good in others—no matter if the world tries to tell us otherwise.
I encourage you to do the same, whether at work or at home. If you choose not to lose the love, you might just find a little more joy in each day.