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  • Writer's pictureJordan Abbruzzese

Airplanes and John Lennon at 39,000 ft

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

​A few weeks ago, I visited a friend who lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia. The trip was a whirlwind - less than 48 hours total, and by the time we hugged goodbye outside of the airport, we were both happy but completely exhausted.

While sitting on the plane next to the other friend who had traveled with me, we fell silent between pages of books and worn blankets, not as talkative as we were on the flight down. As I felt myself drifting to sleep, I looked out the window, which is something I don't normally do on planes (because I have a lot of anxiety around flying, big surprise). But instead of feeling fearful or unsettled about how high we were, I experienced a sense of peace and wonder. I could write about this, I thought, and took a couple of low quality pictures to remind myself later.

After getting home, and overcoming a three-week-long cold and the constant roller coaster of America's political climate, I haven't been as inspired by the pictures anymore. I have been feeling down, especially after the tragedy on Sunday night in Las Vegas. I think that many of us are broken, treading water and trying to survive and help others feel safe. Sometimes it is all too much for us to process - such suffering on a global scale.

Since Sunday, Tom Petty also passed away, breaking hearts but stirring sweet memories of where we were while listening to his music, or the lucky ones who experienced him in concert. As I was driving to work this morning, the radio station I usually listen to did a brief tribute and played Free Fallin', which brought a few tears to my eyes but then made me smile as I belted in the car, completely stopped in bumper to bumper traffic. I turned my music up way too loud, because I wanted all of my fellow commuters to hear it too, and know that things might just be okay after all.

After Free Fallin', the station went straight into playing John Lennon's Imagine, a song that I had not heard in a really long time. I began to tear up again, with the lyrics I had listened to dozens of times before taking on a new meaning:

Imagine all the people living for today Imagine there's no countries It isn't hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion, too Imagine all the people living life in peace


Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can No need for greed or hunger A brotherhood of man Imagine all the people sharing all the world

And suddenly, I remembered the pictures burning in my phone, of when I was flying over Georgia, looking down below. I recalled why I was so moved and inspired before. From above, I thought of millions of people throughout the country and world. Parents coming home from a long day of work to hug their children. A couple falling in love cooking together. A person snuggled up with their dog on the couch while eating ice cream and watching TV. I imagined different cultures, genders and races all celebrating life and working like cogs in a clock to turn our world. It is a concept that I have looked at bitterly over the past few weeks, because there are bad people too, but I have to truly try to believe that there is as much, if not more, good.

I hope we are not ultimately afraid to keep living and doing what makes us human. My anxiety often prevents me from going into public places, such as sporting events or movie theaters, and that fear seems justified with each breaking news story. But we cannot stop frequenting cafes, night clubs and concerts. We cannot stop creating and supporting one another.

We cannot stop hoping for peace and love. It's out there, and I saw it from 39,000 feet above the ground.

You may say I'm a dreamer,

But I'm not the only one.

I hope you all have a great rest of your week.


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