I flew into Boston the day before Christmas, but not without waiting in four or five lines to catch my flight.
Lines can be an interesting place to wait, and yet, the older I get, the more I tend to appreciate them. I know it's not the most ideal place to meet someone, but waiting in line feels like one of the few remaining ways to actually meet someone face to face. Since we're all so busy and pre-occupied on our BlackBerry these days, it just feels nice to engage the old fashioned way, without a doctored photo or screen name.
I found myself in an interesting line last week. In this particular line, it didn't really matter who you were, or how you arrived. Like kids on a school playground, just about everyone was happy to be there. We were all "in the moment," with a shared sense of "everyone being equal."
I did overhear one person complaining about the line taking so long, but I suppose there's always going to be someone who forgets the magic of being in a moment. I too have at times forgotten, but not this time. I was well aware of our good fortune. I even tried to lighten things up by reminding him what it was like to stand in line as a child, waiting for that magical moment to see Santa for the very first time. I think excitement trumped impatience back then, and for this moment even he now remembered where he was... in the White House waiting in line to meet the President and First Lady!
Whether in line at the DMV or the White House, I think it's important to remember that the people around us are the real magic!
I must admit that line seemed to fly by, especially after a fleeting moment with the President and First Lady. Yet, unforgettable as those handshakes and photo ops were, the longer lasting gifts for me may well be some of the people I stood in line with. After all, at least I got their emails!
My friends and family make fun of me because I can't seem to go anywhere without getting an email or two. The running joke among close friends has always been, "How did Jimmy Demers go multi-platinum? One person at a time!"
I'm not so sure the need to connect is just about sharing my music. The truth is, I never know where my next great teacher is going to appear, and because I do believe "there are no strangers, just friends we haven't met yet," I choose to see everyone as a potential teacher.
Who wants to miss the opportunity of meeting their next great teacher just because they were too busy typing away on a BlackBerry, or even worse, pretending they didn't see them in line?
Our time together is simply too brief. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that someone who just might show me a different and more colorful way of seeing the world, may very well be the person standing beside me in line!
I came home for a White Christmas with my family, and this year I got to share a story about a magical time I had in Washington DC.
Yes, the White House was beautiful. Yes, the Obamas couldn't have been more gracious. Yes, the food was absolutely delicious! Yes, it was all so fleeting...
But of all those wonderful, fleeting moments, the most memorable had to be during my walk back to the hotel. On that chilly winter night as I looked up at the sky from Lafayette Park, I gave a wink and a smile to the stars above. Because in that moment filled with gratitude, I remembered the real magic of that evening was found in the souls of those I stood in line with.