Do all roads lead to Rome? That’s the question I ponder in a Nashville hotel room. How long has it been since I felt compelled to write?
Today I was reminded what it was like to travel. I love the insights. The snapshots into other people’s lives offered as small windows on their lives, offered in casually meaningful conversations, usually on airplanes.
The view always reminds me of where I am standing. For some reason, strangers talk to me on planes, they tell me things, probably because on some level I think they sense I do care, even if its the only conversation I ever have, it means something to me to be able to extend a few words of comfort or a smile.
We flew across the country watching as the landscape stretched from flat LA building grids, to desolate deserts and finally lush green landscapes that announced our arrival in the East.
“I’m a musician,” The young man told me. “I love to write songs. But I never finish anything, I don’t know why…”
He was young, handsome and torn. He was the quintessential artiste. The tortured part comes with the territory. “You know when you know when other people are happy or they are sad?” He asked. Yes, I knew. And I listened to his tale, the details of his life, his views, his passions and woes. I looked through the window and it touched me.
As the plane landed we remembered to introduce ourselves and our words were lost in the throng of hot bodies eager to spill out into the sweltering Tennesse air.
I collected my suitcase, chatted to a lady at the carousel as I waited and she welcomed me to Nashville with a copy of her CD (she was a song writer). I waited for the shuttle bus to the hotel. I wheeled my suitcase as I’ve wheeled it so many times before. I ate dinner and fended off fatigue. But the stranger’s words remained with me. His questions continued to confront me. Because there is no such thing as just listening… we listen and we participate. What answers could I possibly yield to the “glimpse” of heartbreak, pain and intense anger he had given me?
The bottom line is I don’t know the answers either, even though I was a decade older and supposedly so much wiser. And I still wonder if all roads lead to Rome…
The best I could hope for is that my simple words of goodwill and heart lingered with him, the way his fear and sorrow lingered with me. I was grateful for our conversation. Where is Rome anyway?
I told him everything would work out. I also told him to persevere and finish a song. Humble pearls.
Next stop: New York, New York. Yes, yes, yes!!!!