Love and Understanding

I’m going to ramble a bit now…

I’m sitting here in the office this morning listening to Karen work and I have that feeling, but I’ll get to that later.  Earlier I was perusing Facebook… reading news, seeing what my peeps are up to, checking in.  I know a lot of people are sort of Anti-Facebook now, but not me.  I could care less about the ads, I don’t generally even look at them, the commercialism, because of course it is, it’s a business, or the fact that they have my info, everyone has my info nowadays.  I use credit cards, I buy things, I sign into and out of websites all the time.  It’s the modern digital age and as much as I care about my privacy, or at least not letting people have access to my credit card info, the feeling of needing to be so private lessened a lot when I was in the hospital for those long long days and everyone saw everything I had.  Perspective.  Facebook to me, especially since the move, is a way to know, by looking in one place, what our friends and family are up to near and far.  It’s a way to stay in touch.  It’s not perfect, but it works for me.  It’s like being in a big digital ongoing conversation.  A community of sorts. I like that.

I respect my family and friends who are so passionate about world affairs, causes they hold dear, politics, etc.  I respect them immensely.  I have issues I also care about, though I think not with the kind of passion they exhibit.  I admire the chutzpah in them.  Sometimes I even wish I had more of it.  Some days, like today, I wonder why I don’t.  I have things I believe in, and will talk about if I’m in that kind of conversation, but most of the time I keep things to myself.  And most of the time I’m more concerned with things like beauty, joy, art, telling stories, music, and love.  It’s true.  These things consume my day, my mind, more than anything else.  Except for maybe my honey and our pups, but then that’s all about love, which is one of the things I care most about.  I have always been this way, and yet… not.

I fell into a degree in Psychology because I was good at it.  I have always been, for friends and family alike, a sort of pseudo counselor.  Additionally I was fascinated by the mind.  How it worked, both physically and emotionally, and why.  I was interested in motivation, understanding, function.  I was also, and continue to be, an incredibly emotional person.  I cry at the drop of the hat, feel things more deeply than I sometimes want to, and have a sense about the emotions of others that at times overwhelms me.  All of this, plus a passion for at risk kids and their issues, led me into work with those kids.  I did that for a long time, cared deeply about what I was doing, and felt like I was making a difference every day.  I was.  I know that with certainty.  But living every day caring very much about what you are doing, wanting to help to facilitate change in both the kids and their circumstances, feeling and battling an overwhelming sense of hopelessness in those same kids, their parents, other agencies, and the circuitous nature of generations of people living difficult lives took its toll on me.  I cared very much and that sense of caring was what finally guided my decision to leave that profession.  Circumstances helped me do it more quickly than I had anticipated, but the writing had been on the wall.  I needed to not live in that world any more.  To not take it home with me.  To be in a more positive environment.  I needed to leave.

Two years ago when the bomb dropped on our lives, and I say our because it didn’t only affect me, we were living our lives.  Loving our lives.  Traveling, working, spending time with friends and family, having as many adventures and new experiences as we could.  Dinners with friends, traveling to new places, walks with the pups, etc.  Our life was amazing.  Then the thing happened.  The big C.  Suddenly, without warning, swooping in to change our lives completely.  Days with friends and family and pups replaced by meds, and IVs, and poisonous life saving drugs, and sickness, and baldness, and…  love.  So much love pouring in to us, to me, that I was overwhelmed by it.  So much.  It was like a tidal wave of well wishes and good feelings and sweet remembrances and karmic hugging.  I was stunned by it.  Knowing you have a good foundation of people in your life is one thing, seeing them, seeing that in action, is another.  I was humbled, shaken, amazed.

We made it through those times, which I can’t even describe…. so much happened, so much.  And I came out of it, away from it, am still in the end of it, with a sense of wonder.  A sense of what is truly important, for me anyway.  And here’s what I think… people need to spend more time thinking about love.  Not love as in romantic love, but love as in love of your fellow-man, love of this planet we call home, love of people we don’t understand, but should at least try to.  There’s too much push and pull, too much righteous indignation, too much of this whole idea that “I” know best and “you” should listen.  Too much arrogance.  Too much of people being afraid of things they don’t understand when really if we just live our lives the best we know how, treating people in our lives with the respect they deserve, and by that I mean all people, we would be so much better off.  Even those we know are struggling or living their lives in ways we don’t think are right or correct or healthy.  If we respect each other as human beings, knowing there are faults in all of us, knowing we are none of us perfect, and then move through life with the knowledge that, for the most part each of us is doing the best we know how, things would improve.  If we focused on beauty, and love, and how similar we are instead of how different we make ourselves, things would improve.

I know there are people who say this is me living with my head in the clouds, but seriously.  We are all the same.  Living our lives, loving our families, wanting what’s best for them.  We may have different ideas about what that is, or what that means, but that’s OK.  Just the simple acknowledgement that we are the same would mean then that we would never be able to judge someone for how they lived, for what they thought.  We would come at the conversation from a place of trying to understand instead of trying to conquer.  We would be more able to work together.  From a place like that no one would be denied basic rights, their humanity, their ability to live a happy life, whatever that is for them.  Judgement would vanish.  And with it fear would go.  Fear that always comes from a place of us vs. them, from not understanding, from living our lives looking at “them” over there as our enemy instead of as our possible friend.  More than that, because we aren’t going to be friends with everyone, we could agree that we won’t always agree.  And that’s OK.  It’s OK for us to do as we please.  And yes, of course I don’t mean those that hurt others.  There are still rules.  Rule one, don’t hurt anyone intentionally or even unintentionally by the actions you take.

So, this is all Pollyanna to many people I’m sure.  But I’m tired of the fighting, the push and pull, the politics of it all.  I’m tired of all the ways we try to stand out, live separately.  We live together, whether we like it or not.  We depend on each other, whether we like it or not, and we can choose to be afraid of each other, of all the things we don’t understand, or we can hold out our hands to those we disagree with, have a real conversation, and move forward.  Actually take steps that lead us toward something wonderful, instead of taking steps backward to places we’ve already been.

I don’t have the answers, I don’t even pretend to know all the questions.  I know me, my honey, my life.  I know that the way the wind sounds in the trees right now is gorgeous and that sound is the same all around the world.  I know I love to laugh, and so does everyone else I’ve ever met.  I know a lot of people are angry about this or that, and they have a right to be.  I’m not discounting that.  I’m just saying… love a little more.  Hug a little more.  Put yourself in the other guys shoes a lot more.  Be kind.  Be patient.  Be better.  We could all be a bit better.  Which, I guess, is the feeling I was talking about earlier.  That feeling of wanting to be better.  Look past myself.  See into things more clearly, with more depth.  To be understanding. To love with all I am, and be thankful.

Spectacle

I watched the Oscars on speed dial the other day. We DVR‘d and I was able to fast forward through most of the stuff I didn’t want to see. Yay. I remember watching the Oscars as a kid. Big spectacle. I loved it. I have always loved movies. The Oscars, every year, are a part of that for me. A night all about movies and performance and such. Fascinating.

In recent years I’ve become much less interested in the Oscars themselves. I want to know who’s nominated and I want to know who wins, but I don’t really care about watching the show. Depending on who hosts there have been way too many production numbers and way too few quiet moments of actors talking about film.

This year I decided to DVR. I was interested, really, in one category. Best Actress. My pick didn’t win, which was sad. Viola Davis was so robbed. No disrespect to Meryl, and honestly I haven’t seen The Iron Lady yet, but seriously. Viola Davis is one classy lady and should’ve won best actress for her role in The Help. Just sayin’. That being said, I did like a recurring segment this year. The thing I liked most, besides the whole Cirque Du Soleil thing, and when don’t we like a Cirque production, was the simple little film inserts of actors talking about acting. Actors talking about movies they loved and why. Actors talking about what they love about movies.

Actors talking about acting and film is much more interesting to me, the human part of it, what they feel about it, than the whole spectacle of it all. It’s the personal side of movies and movie making. I’ll take that every time over spectacle.

Spectacle aside, congrats Meryl and all the other winners… And congrats to Viola Davis… You won in my mind and heart.

Brotherly Love

I secure.  I ground.  I provide a safe place to land.  These are some of my attributes.  They have been all my life.

When I was a girl we lived on a piece of property.  It wasn’t major acreage or anything, just a big lot in town.  Small town.  We had a huge garden, a small orchard, a couple of big grass fields, and a fort built for us by our parents that looked like something from the old west frontier.  It was a good place to be a kid.  Lots of room to roam not too far from home.

My brother had a cool bedroom closet.  It had a window in it that led out onto the roof.  Plus the closet itself was enormous.  Big enough to use as an indoor fort.  We did.  We also, occasionally, climbed out onto the roof, made our way down to the carport, walked carefully across the carport, and jumped down into the garden.  From there we could wander around, having snuck out, all over the place.  We never left the property.  We were, for the most part, “good” kids.  Boringly so.  There were times, however, that my brother, who was going through a tumultuous time then, would sneak out and run away.  He did this a few times.  Packed up a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or at least some bread, put it in a knapsack, and ventured out into the fields on his own.  When this happened I usually knew it not too long after he’d gone.  And, being the big sister, I always went after him.  I always found him.  I always brought him back home.

Kev and I have a special bond.  We’ve been through a lot together he and I.  No one else has our experience except, of course, us.  We two went through divorce, re-marriages, visitations with our dad and his new family in far off Montana, getting to know our little half brothers and sisters, spending time with our older step brother and sisters, Mom’s ordeal with and defeat of breast cancer, the death of our step-dad followed not too distantly by the death of our father who, on his deathbed, apologized to us for the dad he wasn’t and wished he’d been.  Kev and I have always been comrades in arms.  Peas in a pod.  Best buds as well as brother and sister.  We get each other.

I have felt, through the years, like an anchor to him, as he has been, without probably knowing it, to me.  When things have gone wrong or been hard, I want to see Kev.  He wants to see me.  We have clung to each other in times that have sometimes taken the wind from us.  Holding on tight, facing the storm.  Life has been a big adventure for us to this point.  Each of us has had our struggles, our triumphs, our journey.  And each of us has always had the other to lean on, be supported by, to hug.

I can’t imagine this life without my big little brother.  If there’s something I’ve learned, and keep learning, the big lesson I guess, this is it… let the people you love know you love them.  Don’t wait.  Don’t hesitate.  Don’t.  If you think of them, or see them, or miss them, tell them so.  So Kev…  I thought of you today.  You mean more to me than I am able to articulate.  You are one of the best men I know… strong, caring, sweet, honest, true, loyal, gentle, smart, creative, funny, sincere.  You are a fantastic human being.  And as much as I have been secure, and grounding, and safe for you, know you have been all those things for me.  I love you and I miss your mug.