I love sharing joy. But as one of my favorite quotes says “Friendship multiplies joy and divides sorrow.” I am always so grateful to those who are willing to be there when I am struggling. My hope always is to try to gather myself up and get back to the sharing joy part. Sometimes that is easier than others, and sometimes the mere act of sharing that joy in and of itself divides the sorrow. But, for me, it is the sharing in which I find magic. I have always felt that whenever souls join, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
This world, and the lives of each of us in it, will rise or fall on love. And the cornerstone for that success is built on trust and communication. Wars are fought on lack of trust. Marriages and friendships are lost on lack of trust. But trust cannot stand in the absence of communication. Very few people are mind readers. So many things that each of us say or do are so open to interpretation. Even within the most simple of relationships – the play of children – learning to interact with each other builds success in that play. So why does it seem such, that as adults we are so willing to shut each other out, and live within the confines of our own minds, making judgements and decisions without benefit of communications or a loving trust in one another? Lack of trust only breeds lack of trust, and causes hurt and ill-will. Trust, however, built upon open communication, breeds trust, and builds strong foundations for love and friendship, and enhances everyone involved.
I had (have!) a dream…
So, what do you do when you fear losing the dream of a lifetime – when you begin to wonder if what you have built your entire life around the hope to accomplish is completely beyond you? What do you do, when you wonder if that dream is even possible – despite your most genuine best efforts? What do you do when the realization hits that you may just not have the wherewithal or ability to find your way to that dream? You wonder if perhaps the dream was the wrong one, despite an unwavering belief that it comes from a good place in your heart. Where others dream of – and some achieve – successes in great things – where I have examples before me, as an autistic – recent examples such as Temple Grandin, and Susan Boyle; or historical examples such as Mozart, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin – the accomplishments they aspired to and achieved were much different than my – perhaps silly – aspirations.
My dream, since I was a small child, was to make the world a kinder, softer place. Was to lead the way there by embodying the world I wanted to create – to understand humans, and humanity enough to just, honestly, be love, softness, light, and caring. To build a life having its very foundations upon a rock solid base of the very thing my childhood left me feeling deprived of….love. To do that, I knew that I would have to fight every demon that has attacked me – ward off every feeling of hurt and unfairness, and to only love. I have worked so hard to do that. The love in my heart is honestly very real. But – just as honestly it is surrounded by so many other human emotions that I wish only to have succumb to that love.
And just as honestly, the greatest of these is fear. What if I am not capable of realizing my dreams? What if my every belief that “love conquers all” is not enough to find that true in my own life? What if the phrase should only be “love conquers all but autistic bumbling?” Or “love conquers all but pervasive fear?” Can love really conquer “ALL”? Can I find that true for me? Can I find my way to that place in my life where it HAS conquered, and where the greatest of what it has conquered is my fear that I cannot prove that it can? I want that beyond anything. More than anyone could want anything, I want that. What greater motivator could there be in the world than love.
I wrote this morning about being trivial. Not that being trivial is a bad thing, but just that for many of us, likely most of us, our lives are a series of small actions that we might hope to have affect a small number of people. One of my favorite (wise) people, Papi Julio Varela, responded with the thought, that I was familiar with from his book “Black Hat Wisdom” (read it!), that we all have greatness within us, in fact, that we are all greater than we think we are. Papi responded to my post on my page, and may not have seen that when I posted my writing on WordPress, I entitled it “Is there such a thing as Trivial Greatness?… Maybe”. And I think the two are not contradictory. But Papi’s response has me thinking more about “What exactly is greatness, anyway.” What is it exactly that makes us, as Papi says, “greater than we think we are”?
As is my norm, I began with the dictionary, but found it of little apparent help. Greatness is, of course, “the quality of being great”, but what is great? According to the dictionary, great is “of an extent, amount, or intensity considerably above the normal or average”. Well, that doesn’t help, does it – because it would seem evident that everyone can’t be above average… right? But what if nobody is average… it is my belief that there is no such thing as an “average person”, because each of us is different from the other – not just in any one way – but in so many different ways. We cannot describe a flower just by saying it is yellow. “What yellow… how much yellow, what shape is it, how big is it…”, and on and on. And so much simpler, arguably, is a flower than a person. Where a simple flower defies description – so, clearly must we.
So where, in us, does that greatness lie? I would argue further, that the greatness we are does not in fact lie only inside us, but in – as my writing this morning described – how we effect those around us. Our greatness is manifested daily in each interaction we may have that has that opportunity to change the lives of those in our circle of influence. And yet beyond that, in how those actions may propagate themselves further to effect the actions of others, to perhaps change even more lives. And certainly there is greatness there. So, though we may see each individual action as trivial, collectively they are clearly not. And certainly, given that influence, each of us is great – and more certainly each of us is likely not only greater, but MUCH greater than we may think we are. In every action we take, we have that potential to begin something that can far exceed our wildest imaginings.
So if all those actions we instigate find their foundations in love, imagine what greatness we can find ahead of us. If we be great, let us be great in love…
There is something to be said for being trivial, and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. Just as most of life’s miracles are small, it is those little things, when found with consistency, that give us that feeling of comfort and peace. I believe I was not destined to be a Mozart, or a Shakespeare – to do great things, but merely in the continuous little contributions I might make, try to do my small part to change the world. I believe this true of most of us. We may not be world leaders (I don’t know any personally), we may not be great artists, or composers, but it is within the little things each of us can in fact consistently do that the world’s hope lies. So if my contribution is but to bring a smile to a few faces, or warm a few hearts, I am good with that. And if God has it in His mind to sneak greatness out of me somewhere down the line, that’s okay, too. But meanwhile, I’m just going to keep on keeping on… being me, and doing whatever little bit I can.
My biggest fear is dying. Not because I fear what happens after I die – although I once did, but more now because my fear is dying without ever fully having lived. Those who might know me, might question that statement, which admittedly sounds somewhat odd coming from me. While I might not have traveled the world the way some I know have had the opportunity to do, it is not the lack of countries, states, or incredible sights that would have me feeling that I have not lived. I have certainly seen beautiful things, gone beautiful places, and experienced many of life’s wonders – even as I know there are so many more to be experienced.
Yet if my travels are over, I could be content. The world is a magnificent place, and I do hope to see more of it. But it is not for lack of travel that I feel my life incomplete. It is not for lack of experiences, places, sights, sounds or even delicious flavors that I care to live longer. It is only for people.
It has been said of me that “there is no getting enough for Jean”. And while I can understand the specific circumstances that led to that statement, the truth in it goes much deeper. I just released a poster today that speaks of that lack. It quotes me as saying “I just wish to live my life in the company of those I love”. And there is – admittedly – no getting enough of that… I so love people. I so love that feeling of sharing that love – in person – with them. Of feeling my vibration align with theirs, of seeing their smile, watching the light in their eyes, enjoying every nuance of who they are… and I do enjoy that. I enjoy that more than any sight this world has shown me. More than the Alps, more than Norwegian Fjords, more than the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean. More than monkeys and sloths, and Scarlet Macaws… More than anything.
I can only hope to have more of those opportunities – to live in the blessed company of those people who make my heart come alive. If it seems to those people I wish those moments with that I cannot get enough, then I admit the truth in that, and can only promise to temper my excitement for those opportunities with the respect I do have for them and their lives, as best I can. I only ask for understanding at my very real delight any time an opportunity arises to share a bit of my life with theirs. Those opportunities are magic to me, they are bits of miracles, they are very real blessings… They are why I wish to live…
Am I where
I ought to be,
Or was there a path I missed
That was meant for me?
Is there a goal to reach before too long?
Will I then arrive where I belong?
My heart is weary and loses sight.
And wonders if what I do is even right.
I wish there were an arrow or a sign
That what I have worked for
might someday be mine.
What if I instead just wander endlessly
In a maze where no exit might ever be.
I wish I knew, I wish I could see…
Am I where I ought to be?