I was flying in from St. Louis a couple weeks ago and had the window seat on the last leg (where I don’t feel a pressing need to get off the plane and run down to my next destination, home will be there for me), and as I watched the city as the plane landed, I was struck by a sudden understanding of why I like flying. Or maybe it’s more why I like landing.
It reminds me of Mr. Rogers. Specifically it always summons up this quote from his PSA after Sept. 11th:
I would like to tell you what I often told you when you were much younger: I like you just the way you are.
When I land, I look out at the world and I can remember the way when I was a kid that I could easily love and like everyone the way they were. The world was full of wonder, it was safe and I was safe. And now I have to be the person who is careful about what taxi I take back from an event, where am I walking.
While I was in St. Louis, we went to the City Museum where you’re encouraged to play like a crazy kid. Half of me wanted to play and run through the dark and wobbly. The other half had thoughts like “Did OSHA every approve this? Is this safe? That’s dark, maybe I shouldn’t go in there…”
I miss being that kid sometimes. I miss being bold and brave. I miss knowing people would like me just because I was another person, and not fear me or doubt me.
I miss the world when it was a little nicer and people smiled honestly.
I miss Mr. Rogers.
And I think about that when I fly, because as we land I see the world as if I was Mr. Rogers.
So know this.
I like you just the way you are.