It’s New Year’s Eve and I need to make an entry to close this year out properly. The first three drafts of this blog contained a laundry list of accomplishments for the year, and status updates for Ryan, Ivy, and myself. I deleted that because I never want my posts to merely be status updates. I have Facebook for that.
As I review the last year, the one thing that has been looming larger and larger in my mind, my life, and in my actions, is the pursuit of spreading kindness and illuminating beauty wherever I see it. I know people who are dying, who cherish every minute they have left, and who would do anything for more time here. I know others who are utterly absorbed by their bleak perception of the world at large, poisoning their lives. They wax fanatically about the tragedy of “what our world has become” in contrast to the unrealistic, vague fantasy of “how it used to be.” If they were close to death would they change their focus?
Maybe they would listen in delight at the crunch of snow under their feet, or feel utter awe in the diamond-sparkly blankets of fresh fallen snow that cover a town and make it look like a toy train set. The sight of the sunrise or sunset would take their breath away, and they would watch in captivation as a hawk coasts soundlessly against a bright blue sky.
They would smile at the fluffiness of a squirrel tail, or as I do at the simple sight of the four-year-old next store whose head appears over my wall as she bounces in her trampoline, talking to me in a squeaky voice, in short bursts with growing and descending volume. “How many years do you have?” she asks. “I have four.”
Would they feel the wind on their face as a soft embrace, hear the thunder like a tuba in an ethereal orchestra? Enlightenment does not come from political reform or the shunning of certain races or economic classes, or in outlawing anything that does not fit with whatever religious text or personal ideology you follow. It comes in the hidden treasures: the snap of an ice cube when it hits water, the stabbing of soda bubbles on your face. It’s about feeling, and taking it all in, in experiencing what we can while we’re here, while we’re alive.
I can’t force people to have a sense of wonder, or to appreciate the immensity of the beauty and kindness that is all around us. I can’t force people to feel giddiness when they see clouds touching mountaintops, or autumn leaves dancing in a circle, but I can keep talking about it and hopefully it will rub off.
I can’t make people accept others as they are, to look past their religions, or race, or ethnicity, or sexuality, or political preference. But I can try my best to enlighten others with stories, and maybe that will make a difference.
In 2019, I will continue to focus on the positive, will try to see the best in people, and let myself be spirited away by the joy found in the simple things.
Happy New Year and welcome to 2019!