Dear Mr. President,
Today I gave blood at my local blood center. Before any one is allowed to donate, they are asked a series of questions about lifestyle, travel and medical history. When the woman preparing me for my donation saw that I'd been to Palestine, she started asking me about the trip. Soon, she and several other employees were talking about Palestine, where it was, what the political situation is, and their own travel experiences. They asked me about Ariel Sharon and the peace processes, and before long the other donors and I were chatting as well. The man in the chair next to mine had just relocated from southern California for work, and his wife and two young children were still there.
It was one of those perfect, sunny days that Seattle gets, more often than our reputation implies, but not so often that we've forgotten how to appreciate. I'm terrified of needles, and blood, and doctors, so this particular experience is not one I usually handle with very much grace. But this kind man, and the employees and the center chattering away as though we were all old friends, the sunlight pouring in through the windows, even the calm, sleepy greyhound that lived in the recovery area outside combined to keep me from the grips of complete panic. After, we ate cookies in the recovery room and joked about the weather.
We're all so different; facing such different struggles and looking for such different things in life. It reminded me strongly of the concept in Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, of a karass, a team of people who work together without knowing it, to do God's will. I may spend most of my days in groups based on false constructs- age, social class, employment, education- but there are other things that bind us together as people, a willingness to help one another, that I sometimes forget in my day to day interactions. In the end, what ought to have been a really awful experience was really not so terrible at all.