There are these moments of pure perspective in my life. Where I remember how fortunate I am to have this beautiful home, to have an amazing daughter. So many things could have been chosen differently by me to get me elsewhere. So many things could have otherwise happened. We don’t get to change the past and it’s futile to attempt it.
And I’m reminded – by a cat of all things – that love has the true power to soothe. The way you tame a wild thing is to love it, unconditionally, and to also at the same time not lend it a moment of wildness. Those things – love, structure and especially the combination of the two – is what we who truly love others do for them. Kindness, on any scale, is the key to not only taming the wild but to true happiness of your soul.
Which brings us to giving – and the abject need for humans to give. Sure we all give – old clothes to Goodwill, maybe to the Salvation Army when they have those red buckets and the loud bells at the grocery around the holidays – but those are measured gifts. We are either prompted by a date on a calendar, by a bucket at the grocery exit or by a nice man with a dog. Who is to say that any of those things deserve less than the others? I certainly shouldn’t.
I’m working very hard on changing my own mindset of dates on a calendar chosen by a corporation, and instead focusing on dates with human meaning to them. No, I will not shop on Black Friday. I will not buy on Cyber Monday. I will not give a crappy gift card to a family member. I will do my damndest to fill their lives with happiness and hope and to be the best person to everyone. That, I believe is the true meaning of a gift.
Memory is a funny and fickle thing. In the lens of my own recollection, unexpected memories rise. For me, each recollection both sharpens and dulls. Our recall of events is not akin to a video, but rather a video game. Some of them are amazingly real and full – if not somehow beyond even lifelike – while others from the same event pass completely out of phase. Like a pile of raked leaves in a breeze, you never end up with the same from which you started.
When you’ve lived in one general area for a long time, you grow accustomed to traditions, accustomed to local norms, local politics and local mindsets. Then a strong gust comes along and leaves flitter about and scatter. It takes much raking to bring that pile back in. I have an interesting way of raking those leaves that uses driving, windows down, and loud music – typically EDM or trance.
Like scattered leaves are my thoughts today after being strewn about in the most magnanimous and beautiful way. As the gusts lifted them, I watched each transcendent thought float in the air. Thoughts such as why do I tend to pick such hard-line perspectives of those whose viewpoints oppose mine ; why don’t I consider not only the opposition’s humanity and motivations but also my own motivations. Why do I feel the need to so carefully choose the situations in which I give and serve? Why do I not give whenever I have the means (which is nearly always), regardless of need? Why do I feel the need to judge if the gift will be received, even though I profess to judge the best gifts as being given with no expectations? Each clear statement a gust of wind. Leaves scattered about, I sought to rake them all. I’ll be raking for a while.
This is a good thing. We all need our leaf piles scattered to grow.