It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears
It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears
There’s so much that we share that it’s time we’re aware
It’s a small world after all
Does the world seem smaller to you? Maybe it’s the speed of news reporting, the connectivity on social media, the ability to book a flight and go anywhere.What else?
Where it really comes home is when people I know personally are my connection to events thousands of miles away. My writing buddy here in Holland is someone I hope to introduce to you more formally when she completes her first novel. We are both working toward completion of large writing projects this year, and we frequently work together quietly in her guest house.
She was notified almost immediately that there was a shooting in progress at UCLA. Her news app brought it up, and her first thought was of her son. Amazingly he was able to text her regularly during the event, and she updated him on what the news channels were reporting. The campus was in lockdown. A mass shooting involving up to four gunmen flashed on the news. Where was her son in the midst of all the confusion?
Text from Son: What’s my blood type?
Mom: ___ Why?
He was sitting in his Anti-terrorism class with professional civilians and marines who responded according to their training. They directed the students to write their blood type, pertinent allergies, and important medical information on their forearms. They analyzed the class’s position relative to the gunfire and determined that if the shooters advanced toward their building, the class members were sitting ducks. Despite the lockdown, a plan of action was made to move the class to a defendable position. Tense minutes dragged on until officials determined there was one shooter intent on a murder-suicide, and it was safe for students and faculty to come out again.
My friend related all this to me the next morning and added that she hoped this might make a banking career more appealing to her son. Her hopes were dashed.
More often these days, I find there is a people connection between me and the headlines, an unexpected inside view of world events. I realize a large part of this is living in an expat community. I never could have imagined it as a child though.
When I sang “It’s a Small World” so loud and strong (I really liked that song), I didn’t actually believe it. The world was huge and unknowable, completely beyond my grasp. I wanted to know it though. I wanted to see more and more of it. Now, through the eyes of my friends, through their diverse backgrounds and our community, I finally recognize how small the world often is.
Kristin King is an author and co-founder of Future Hope Africa, a grassroots, educational nonprofit operating in DR Congo.