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Letter From Home: “Tonic For The Soul” 3/25/16

March 25, 2016

The flag at our home continues to fly half-mast in respect to those who lost their lives from the brutal and outlandish hate and rage that exploded earlier this week in Brussels.   With no wind today it hangs limp and void of expression–except for the drooping sadness that still presses upon all of us as we follow the latest developments in the investigation.

It has been that type of week while watching and reading world events where we stop and ponder how can we ever ‘right the ship’?  The policy moves to reverse the madness are not easy to state, less so to then implement.  It seems at times we are so lost in the confusion and anger of the world.

And then something so easy happens that shifts perspective and lifts the mood.    For me that took place at our kitchen table today when an international student studying in Madison was our lunch guest.   Nogii, a 23-year-old Mongolian who is truly excelling at English, smiled as much as he talked and in so doing made me so very aware (again) that what unites the world is so incredibly stronger than whatever tries to divide us.

I am not sure how the topic came up but there among bites of homemade parsnip and carrot soup I asked if James Bond was as much a thrill for his friends as the secret agent was to many in this country.  “Who would not want to be Bond?”, was the smiling response.

Over the thousands of miles thanks to modern technology the world is reduced to digital bits that connect the young enthusiastic teenagers of China, Russia and San Francisco.   As Nogii hummed a few notes of his favorite Elvis song and I tried to match them with the correct words it was James who heard the music in his head and correctly announced it was “Can’t Help Falling In Love”.

With shared memories of grandparents, the religions we practice, or the way his Mom made a favorite fried dumpling (Khuushuur) for the annual festival of Nassdamn the world seemed to reclaim some order.  Worldwide rhythms and sincere desires exist for all people.  What is needed from us is to find those connections and run with them in the same direction.

Our kitchen table has over time hosted a number of people from around the globe thanks to James being a college professor.  Each of those visitors has been a unique joy.    Each one has been a history lesson or cultural experience for me.

But after the harsh news this week Nogii was a needed tonic for the soul.   With nothing more than just simple conversation and laughter the awful headlines recede a bit and my mood is brighter.   The bridges of humanity are the way forward and it can start as easily around your table as mine.  One meal at a time.

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