Flying, Time Travel, and a World Without Borders

By Sister Christine Parks

As I begin to write this blog, I am sitting at 35,000 feet, headed back east toward Chicago at 600 mph. Amazingly I will arrive home the same day, several hours before I left Tokyo—and so I wonder: will I be younger when I arrive than when I left? If I kept traveling east would I keep getting younger—would I be able to see the most immediate past a bit more clearly? I suspect not, but that’s just one of the mind-twisting mysteries of time-traveling the globe by jet.


Many of us have been here,
35,000 feet up with only our thoughts!

Another “mystery” is that if I were able to see the ground below this plane there would be no lines (neither latitude nor longitude.) There would be none of the artificial boundaries we have erected to separate ourselves from others—those we determine to be “not us”; those whose differences we build into impenetrable walls rather than invitations.


What other “mystery” lies beneath the clouds?

Looking down through the periodic breaks in the clouds I can see all the structures of the amazing geography of this globe that is our home. The landscape unfolds in rivers, mountains, prairie, forests—large and small, and the inevitable signs of human habitation.

The one thing I can’t see are the borders, the thin blue lines that cover every map. Lines that divide us from each other. Boundaries that we try to mark out with checkpoints, fences and walls. Lines that we sometimes seem all too willing to kill and die for.


Looking down from above, the landscape is beautiful.
And borderless.

These past couple of months I have been trying to figure out what it is that is happening in our nation and world. Trying to puzzle out the swirling chaos. Trying to frame this in my sense of the difference between our Congregation of St. Joseph charism of unity, with its appreciation of diversity, and our all too human temptation to seek uniformity in thought, religion, relationships, and so many other aspects of life that creates division.


You can’t hold the whole world in your hand,
but you can try to hold it in your heart.

And yet some of us yearn for the unity promised by our experience of the Holy. We yearn, seek and pray for the union that respects and reverences the incredible diversity we see all around us. The diversity that gives the rich texture of wonder and beauty to this world that is our home. That is what I see outside this window; what I hope for in the world around me; what I seek inside myself.

About the Author

Christine Parks

Sister Christine Parks currently serves as a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph Leadership Team. Her leisure activities include gardening, long walks in nature, reading, writing, attending plays and concerts, as well as museums.