Miles and miles above the Earth and all its good people below, I’m overcome with a tremendous sense of hope.
In the country I left behind, people are just now headed to bed or headed out to celebrate some such occasion they feel worth celebration, and why shouldn’t they? For some, the day has wound down, and for others, the night has just begun.
But outside my window, the first light of day is starting to show. When my feet touch the ground, it will be dawn. People will rise from their beds to watch the mist broken by the warmth of the morning sun, or to join their neighbors in celebration of the deity they believe brought them this light. Or, perhaps, they’ll work in the kitchens, preparing what, for some, s a great feast for family and friends, enjoyed in the company of those they love. Or, maybe still, like some people I could mention, they’ll continue to rest on their day of rest, and maybe by the time they wake up, their first rays of sun will be the last light of day.
And where am I? Floating above them, drifting among clouds like the pages of a notebook a careless artist threw like caution to the wind, though, in this day and age, perhaps this is how she’ll be discovered. Perhaps a page will hit a plane, not on my side, but at a window of the first-class cabin, catching the eye of some investor, an investor who happens to know someone at the Guggenheim. Perhaps he’ll give her a call, request a piece specifically for that gallery, and from there, her life begins.
Chance, it’s often called. Coincidence, happenstance. Things that occur rarely with reason but just seem to happen.
But I don’t believe in that.
I believe things happen for a reason. Now, I’m not one to call myself a believer in fate or destiny. I believe people shape their own destiny, that fate is only fate after the fact, that the actions of one person can indeed be acts of gods.
But when people meet, and when events happen far beyond our control, and when the universe happens to, seemingly out of nowhere, bring people together, tear people apart, flood valleys, move mountains, turn the world as we know it upside-down, it always seems to happen for a reason.
And that is why I find myself filled with this tremendous sense of hope: the people I’ve met in my travels have granted this to me simply by existing, simply by tumbling head-first into my life, inadvertently, uncontrollably, and without remorse. They have crashed into me, thron my life into cataclysm, ruined what could have been the well-versed plans of some higher power, and I will never be able to thank them enough.
But I will most certainly try.
I have come to believe that the single most powerful thing any human being can do is change another person’s life.
I’ve spent a good long time trying to figure out who I am, but I’ve long since realized that my life is not my own. It is the amalgamation of not only my life, but also of the experiences of all the people who have ever walked with me through a park, sat with me at a table, danced with me both in front of and behind a camera, and dumped their lives on me, whether they realized it or not. I’ve learned so much, so much more than I could ever have anticipated as a six-year-old child, sitting alone in his room with his pet cockatiel, designing roller coasters that defied the very foundations of physics, or as a thirteen-year-old boy trying to figure out this other side of the world, still trying to understand this realm of gods and men, still lost as ever in his imagination. My mind has been opened far beyond physical comprehension, galaxies and lifetimes dancing in my mind like the stars above, coloring my world like the tangerine light far in front of me colors my horizon.
My future is bright, and had I not met the people I have had the thrill of meeting. I would never think that way. I would still be a boy, locked in his room with his pencils and paper and toys and dreams, dreams I had always been shy of sharing.
Yes, I was shy once. Anyone who has met me only in the past few years would never have guessed such a thing possible, but it’s true. I was a frightfully frightened little boy, kept to myself, tried so hard to toe the line that, for some reason, I could never see. But inside bubbled stories, stories I never knew I could tell, stories threatening to burst if I did not find some means of sharing them with the world.
This world, and all its good people, have filled me with a tremendous sense of hope, and hope springs eternal. And while I may never be able to thank you enough, I feel I should at least try.
So, to everyone who has ever stumbled into my life and bridged it with theirs, however personally or casually, however briefly or however long, to everyone who reads this and knows that they have granted me hope, faith, and friendship, to everyone who showed me that the sun will always rise just like it does now, thank you.
Thank you for having me in your company, thank you for coming into my life, but more than that, thank you for being my friend.
And if I haven’t met you yet, I do hope I will soon. So far, there hasn’t been anybody I’ve met that wasn’t important, and I have a feeling that you and I will get along just fine.
At least, that’s what I hope.