It will likely take me months to capture all of my thoughts about my journey to Pakistan, but I have to start somewhere. With that in mind, there is one thing that keeps coming to mind over and over – we’re all the same. It’s one thing to say “we’re all the same” but another to truly feel it, and still another to truly live it.
This journey started, as many do, in an airport. As we traveled from Tulsa, to Chicago, to Abu Dahbi, to Islamabad, the faces, languages, clothing and attitudes changed, a little at a time, from one place to to the next. Clothing worn and languages spoken started to take on the culture we were traveling toward. The only thing that never changed, whether standing in a currency exchange line, sitting on plane or waiting for baggage, was the children.
Kids are kids everywhere we go. No matter the country and its dominant religion, political structure, or problem of the day, children are the same. Laughing, running, kicking their sister, tattling on their brother, being kissed by their father, snuggled by their mother. I saw them busying themselves on planes, crying when they were tired or upset, and being doted on by relatives as they arrived at the gate. But mostly what I saw was, as the grown-ups sized one another up or ignored one another all together, children were oblivious to it all. They looked at everyone with bright, curious, open eyes, hearts and smiles. If only we were all so oblivious, so free, so non-judgmental.
I know I learned amazing lessons during my journey to Pakistan, but I think this will always be my most important. The lesson that if only we all carried our childhood spark of trust and hope, we would see past our differences and on to the simple fact that we are all simply humans, here, together. That we are, at our core and in our essence, all the same. I’m grateful to children, of which we all once were and should possibly try to be more like again, for this reminder and hope that I will not only say, but feel and live the lesson of “we’re all the same.”