When you have a 13 year old who has ADD and who asks a million questions all in 5 minutes, you realize how little you actually know. I’m sorry, I don’t know where snot comes from. I have no idea why there is a pillow in the doctors office or why the saw cuts only the cast and not the arm. I don’t know what I would do if I could freeze time because I can’t freeze time. But no, I wouldn’t steal and yes, I probably would save someone from a burning car. I’m sorry I don’t know where the tissues are or if your cast is coming off or when you will get a smaller one on. I have no idea why the ambulance came to your school today or why you sound so weird when your nose is all clogged up. I can’t tell you why one nostril is more clogged up than the other. Now, any more questions?
Imagine if we could be stripped of every single thing that makes us different. No religion, no color, no class, no individuality. What do you think the impact would be? Imagine a perfect climate all year round conducive to raising crops. That would mean no seasons, no storms, no snow. Imagine communities where people lived in identical dwellings and ate the exact same food as everyone else each and every meal.
We say we want equality. We have heard the speeches and watched demonstrations. Everyone wants what everyone else has. I can’t help but wonder if that recipe for a perfect world falls a little short when you actually have to taste the food.
I just got back from watching The Giver. It really struck a deep cord inside of me. I had no idea what the story was about and I was completely caught off guard by the way it made me feel. I felt a deep sense of sadness as I watched each scene. I didn’t even understand it until after I walked out of the theatre and gave it some thought.
The truth is there will never be a perfect world. Let me rephrase. There will never be a world that is perfect enough for the people who live in it. We were born to be different. We were born unique and different and no amount of controlling or prompting could ever make us be exactly the same. Life is meant to feel. When I look around me and see so many who are genuinely depressed or medicated to the point their affect becomes so flat they no longer show any emotions, my heart hurts. The truth is the whole world feels the loss. Emotions and feelings make people feel alive. It is passion inside that drives people to stretch their lives in ways many could never imagine. As hard as it is, we are meant to feel pain. We are meant to feel so sad and empty that we long to feel something more, something better, and often that is the same part of us that finds the strength inside to bring us to that better place. We are meant to feel joy and sadness, pain and pleasure. We are meant to feel it all. If we don’t notice a difference anymore, who will we become? We are meant to trust like a child, and take chances that scare us to death. We are meant to love so much that we can actually feel our heart inside our chest. We are supposed to feel. We are not meant to walk around numb. It is that numbness that cheats us as a people of feeling real deep compassion and an intense connection with everyone around us. We are all connected and when one becomes numb we all become a little more numb. We feel the pain of the disruption of the connection and we all lose. We become angry that our partner seems so removed. We grow frustrated that a family member is so detached and unhappy. Each and every person affects every other one. That’s just the way it is.
So, where did all the sadness stem from as I sat there and watched? It’s hard to believe that we are meant to love. It’s hard to admit that we kill innocent people and that conflict of interest gives us an excuse to blow up innocent people, woman and children in far away villages. It’s hard to understand that we kill in the name of God and religion. We have learned to find any excuse to feed the savage part of us that affords us an excuse to act against our peaceful nature. We kill the miracle that is growing inside a mothers womb and argue over our opinions about when we believe life begins. Making the almighty dollar outweighs a patients real need for medication and equipment to lead a comfortable life. People will steal from each other to get a jump on their next fix but never give a single penny to a person in need. We are not all bad but the bad is contagious. The more we see it, the more it becomes our new normal. What once would break a young, innocent heart no longer even gets it’s attention. We use words such as racism to raise the heat on our anger and hate, we fall for the political divide that further divides the hearts of the people. We become black or white or democrat or republican. Where the hell are the people? We give up the one thing that makes us the same, the fact that we are born into this world and we fall victim to the evil and hate that divides. I don’t care where you come from or what your religion or skin color is, life is hard and we all have to get up day after day and live it. It’s wonderful, yes , but it is hard too. We will all face things that challenge us, we will see good and bad and we will do the best we can with what we were given but we have to live side by side. We have to rise above every obstacle that challenges to hold us back. We are all people period. Pain and life does not discriminate, only we do and that’s the real shame. We’ve become so numb that we don’t even recognize what’s really going on anymore. And the truth is whether we admit it to ourselves or not, the conflict we feel inside, even if it is solely unconscious is slowly killing us all. It’s taking our hearts and turning them into something cold, detached, uncaring, things they are not. Hate and anger and rage fuel our fire instead of shaming us to find a better way to live. It is taking the life out of our years and robbing the light that once shined from our eyes. It is destroying humanity. When our actions do not gently hold the hand of our nature we are troubled and we don’t even understand why.
Could I possible be right? Who knows. I’m not even sure the line between right and wrong will ever be clear again. There’s so much gray. The sides have started to mesh together and it’s unclear where one stops and the other starts. The heart knows. The gut knows. There is a gauge inside screaming at you to listen. Can you hear it? Do you even feel it, or have you too become numb? Is comfortably numb the new norm?
Learning and growing takes place everyday if we allow it into our own lives. Over the years I have learned a great deal and one of the most important lessons that has made a difference in my own life is that I do not need to conform to the ideals and the lifestyle of the people around me. Sometimes we become lumped together in groups. It might be with people in the same slice of life or maybe even people whose kids share the same sports as our own. The problem is this. We become as small as the little circle around us. We try and keep up with them and become stuck in a way of life that perhaps doesn’t feel very good. Why do we allow ourselves to stay trapped in it? Probably because everyone around us is doing it so shouldn’t we be doing it as well? There are few limits anymore. We binge and gorge ourselves on excess everywhere we look. We don’t balance our time or keep our activities in perspective with a happy lifestyle. Someone may one up us or be better if we don’t keep up. How long will you try and do these people around you even really matter anyway? If everyone was severely ill around you, would you try and catch the ailment too just to fit in? It seems like a silly question but think about it if you dare.
I have grown well outside the circle. Those are now people I have similarities with but will never identify with. It seems like people are obsessive with the things they are part of. It has to take up all their time and thought and energy and it becomes their whole life eating away the seconds they could actually be living. I am grateful for the vision and the concept of balance and making moments count. Am I successful all the time? Not even close but I do not repeatedly put my time into things that only matter right now in a short timespan. Sometimes we make things larger than they really are. I will even go as far to say we make things more important than they really are. Is that a sin? Maybe not but the tragedy is that we start to lose sight over what really does matter. The line becomes blurred between our common sense and keeping up with those around us. I see it all the time. People putting kids sports over visiting with family or family vacations. People overwhelmed because they volunteer for something and become so wrapped up in an organization they cannot tell where the organization stops and they begin. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to part of something but when that something takes up all your time and prevents you from really living in the ways that are important, then you are giving away a very important part of yourself and precious time you will never get back.
Just the other day my sister told me my niece did not want to come visit because she didn’t want to miss dance. Wow did that one really hurt. I too have revolved my schedule around swim but I can tell you I do not do it anymore. People and family and special events are way more important than any silly class, practice or stupid swim meet. Seriously, will our lives be ruined if we miss one or two? Someday swimming will end for my daughter so I know how unimportant it really is in the whole picture of her precious life. It’s a shame really that we put the little things before the big things. That is what leads to the misconception that they are way more important than they really are because our actions start to portray that very thing.
Everyone learns lessons in their own time. Sometimes it’s too late and you look back on your life full of if only and what ifs. Maybe we even ask ourselves where did the time go and why did I waste so much of it? That is why you need to ask yourself right now. Am I making my time count? How do I feel about my life in this moment? Do I feel overwhelmed, stressed, content, happy? It’s good to check in from time to time. Let your answers be a compass and if need be, take a new direction and drive down a new path. You do have the power to change your life but only if you have the courage to be honest with yourself. Are you living your life or are you missing your life?
I’ve been hearing a particular phrase over and over again lately. Frankly, I find it ignorant and insulting. Now that I’ve let my judgmental side speak, the rest of me would like to join in too. The phrase is this.
What difference does it make?
That is a very serious question that merits considerable contemplation. I find it frightening when someone who holds a powerful position whether it be a person in our own government, a teacher, a coach, etc has the audacity to respond to a legitimate question with this response. When someone in power makes a decision concerning the welfare and the outcome for the important people who put their trust in them, don’t you think they should at least have the moral awareness to consider how what they do affects everyone around them? Don’t you think they owe the people who are affected by their choices and actions the decent courtesy of an explanation?
This attitude of don’t ask because I’m not going to tell is offensive to the many kind hearted and wonderful individuals who do care about the mark they leave on this world and the people they come in contact with. I say this, if you don’t think enough about yourself to think what you do matters than fire yourself and get the heck out. A bit brutal, maybe, but the consequences left behind from someone with this mindset hurts our country, our schools, and many organizations that strive everyday to do good, to serve and honor the people and make sure they get the very best of whatever it is that they deserve.
If you have to respond with “What difference does it make?”, then I think you’ve already realized on your own that you aren’t really making a difference at all. Perhaps you should take a good, long, hard, loving look in the mirror and say those words as you stare back at yourself. Just a suggestion. And if you aren’t making a difference, shame on you because you were put in a position to do exactly that. Don’t be a waste of your own talent. Step out of your ego and consider someone other than yourself because the truth is you aren’t any more or less important than anyone else standing around you. Step off the pedistal and try a different view. Maybe then you will get a grip and a glimpse of a new perspective.
Listen for that phrase. If I’m hearing it more and more, I’m sure you will start hearing it too. And be ready and waiting with your response because the world deserves someone to stick up for it.