The Best View Around

In Virginia, there’s a park near the airport where you can see planes landing.

You hear the engines rumble and roar. Then you see wingtip to wingtip this gigantic aluminum bird gliding down above you. It is hands-down one of the best views around.

And still, it’s incomplete. You can’t zoom in to see the the pilots’ expressions, the passengers antsy about making connections, the flight attendants stifling a yawn on their third flight of the day. You can’t zoom out to see the plane’s full contrail, the air traffic controllers coordinating the landing, the next airport it’s headed to.

But isn’t a great view a great view even without all that?

Of course. And for a plane, unless we’re in aviation, it’s not the most important thing in the world.

But what about for a person? Every view we have of a person is incomplete.

We can’t zoom in or out far enough to see the troubling email they got right before they saw us or the sky-high heating bill they didn’t budget for, their chronic lower back pain or family’s non-acceptance of their partner. We can’t see all that they arrive at this moment with.

When it comes to planes, people, anything, we never get the entire view. Our understanding will always be incomplete, their whole story never fully known to us.

So perhaps the best view is the one that knows this. And sees people with the compassion we would want others’ incomplete view of us to have.

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