“Instead of a punishing world, let’s turn it into a healing world. For every offense, for every moment of poor judgment, for every instance of human frailty, for every momentary lapse of reason, our first response is always to punish, that’s all we’ve ever known and nothing ever changes, and shit keeps getting worse. What if our desire to punish those who’ve stumbled into a dark pattern of wrong-doing is transformed into a desire to understand, to love…to heal? Would it be a more conscientious and hopeful world? Would there be more people living a life of peaceful and generous coexistence? Would there be more givers, and less takers?” Unknown
Our memories are emotional snapshots of a single moment in our lives. They may evolve around events, people or places. We take those memories and we colour them with years of handling and layering with bits and pieces of detail and meaning.
Those memories that make us yearn with an aching need to recapture what once was, cannot ever be found again by simply returning to the scene of the snapshot. It has nothing to do with a place or even really the people. It has to do with the emotions we felt in a moment during the journey of our life. Often, the very process of trying to recreate what was, shatters it forever. Somehow the idea that we could return is a greater comfort than the failed attempt to do exactly that.
Going back leads us to stand in our past. What we saw and knew as a child is often explained. The magic is lost and our own growth and understanding lend shading and depth to it that we see now because we have matured and are now capable of understanding. The huge tree we used to climb almost to the sky, where we would sit for hours, is actually a pretty average old tree of no real consequence. Our first kiss can never be re-experienced because everything in that moment was coloured with the sensory overload of new emotions. The very air we breathed seemed full of promises and all the hopes and dreams of our expectations and imaginings not only heighten our interpretations of the event as it happened, but also as we thought about it later. A first kiss from someone we loved is very different from a first kiss from someone we are not at all attracted to. The difference is not in the kiss, it is in the meaning we attach to it. Those layers of meaning are not real in the sense that they exist independent of our producing them and applying them to the event, and they are not static. Continue reading
Who says that people do not care and that compassion does not have power to change lives. All it takes is just for each of us to do what we can where we are planted.
What really matters in our lives? What is worth our time and energy and what is just an illusion? None of these people may ever have fame or wealth. They may never be known, but they will be remembered. They will be remembered and loved for having made a difference in the lives of the people they lived amongst.
“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbours worthy.” Thomas Merton
I have never seen the world as it is. I freely admit that.
I don’t ever remember any time of knowing where I did not completely understand that I was different. I have always understood that how I see things and the way I think about them, is NOT how other people do. I had two choices, to forget who I was, or not. Except it is never as simple as that. Choosing to hold on to me came at a bigger cost. It meant I would probably always be on my own at best, and at worst, I would be the one that others directed all their personal angst at. I would make myself a life-long target.
It might have been different if being me was about going quietly on my way but being me is loud and full of laughter and excitement and enthusiasm. It is compassion spilt all over everywhere and tears . . . tons and tons of tears . . . sometimes in sorrow but also in pure joy and love. I love people with loud exclamations. I fight for the people I love and I fight for those that no-one loves. I never sit down and keep my mouth shut. I see everything. And everything means something to me. I scream for people to see the elephant. I draw chalk outlines and colour it in so that everyone has to be able to see it. I call people liars when they refuse to see it.
I have never learned how to hide what I am under a bushel. Continue reading
The family meal used to be an institution. Whatever was going on in your life, everyone was expected to check in for meal time.
It was a way to count heads, to make sure that everyone was safe, and to find out what had happened in our day. My grandparents used it as a time to teach and to talk about life. My brother often used it as an opportunity to tell everything I had done that might mean I was in trouble and he would get to choose the TV programming for the evening. I might have taken that same opportunity myself sometimes.
But it was more than that. Meals were connections and social times with other people. As children, we were always coached on our manners before people got there and given any special instructions that were required. It might be that our visiting Aunt had lost her leg to polio and walked with a limp. Under no circumstances were we to ask about it, or stare, or ask anything about whether she had any children, which she didn’t. I remember listening intently as my grandmother explained that she thought it would be too hard for a child to grow up with a mother who was missing a leg, and she did not want to embarrass them. I wanted to run up and hug my aunt and love her enough in that one evening to make up for all the children she should have had because she was such a beautiful lady. I knew any child would have loved her because I loved her. I couldn’t do that so instead, I was on my best behaviour. Continue reading