I have traveled today and on one leg the trip, I met an incredible young guy sitting next to me on the plane. I started up a conversation with him by asking him if he was traveling for work or on vacation. Just one question to strike up a conversation because I was curious…just one question…and it started one of the most unusual and awesome conversations I have ever had…
I learned that he had just finished up a ski trip in Utah with his “mother’s first husband”, a quiet gentleman in his late 70’s and who hails from Budapest. I learned that the young man was a caregiver for his mother who had suffered a traumatic brain injury years ago from a motor vehicle accident. I learned that his mother’s medical providers never thought she would regain the capabilities that she has mastered under his care and patience. I learned he has a girlfriend who suffers from a debilitating disease but she never lets it get the best of her. She is always seeking new things to do… they seek art shows and cultural events around their home in Montreal and from what I could surmise, they relate on a pretty deep and intellectual level.
I learned that he feels a sense of “duty” to keep up relationships with his non-traditional, non-nucleur family. People that he has a connection with because at one time they were family or family to his family.
I learned that he would like to be able to think on a more positive level… that he does not consider himself happy and that when he is feeling at his best, is when he can sleep. He says most of the things he does is not out of enjoyment but out of that duty that he kept referring to. He tells me that the reason he does the things he does (taking care of his mother, spending time with a man who was his mother’s spouse) is because he has a belief that we should “treat others as we want to be treated”.
Interestingly enough, he smiled throughout our brief 10-15 minutes of conversation – true, authentic smiling. He tried to be cynical but his actions contradicted those cynical words. What I heard as an articulate, well rounded, smart, knowledgeable and curious young man who smiled.
I received a gift today. A gift of wonder and the ability to embrace my curiosity. I was on a plane and went into autopilot – naturally moving into deep listening and deep questioning so that I could truly know this new person who entered my life so briefly… as we walked away, he grabbed my hand and with a big smile wished me the best on the rest of my journey…now how cool is that?
When was the last time you were blessed with an opportunity to satisfy your curiosity?