Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Little Boy

A little boy raises his voice and slams his books against the desk. He says he doesn't have to listen. He's not going to detention. He's not going because he doesn't want to. He's getting more agitated, more belligerent, more demanding. He's raising his voice and he's fighting a calm, steady one because the rest of his life is out of control. Outside of these walls, these books and this playground he doesn't have a voice. All of his choices are made for him; even the impending split of his world, of his allegiance, of his heart. Outside of these walls he is not a little boy.

Who is he, you might ask. He even wonders. He is our present and he is our future. He could become anything, anyone. Maybe an astronaut, perhaps a leader, a scientist who finds a cure, an author whose words inspire change and human transcendence, an actor who becomes other people so that people can see a reflection of who they really are, maybe a difference maker who works with the disadvantaged; the unfortunate. Maybe, perhaps, a healer.

Today he is wounded. He suffers. His pain is well-known. His pain is my pain. His voice, his anger, his hurt, and his sobbing makes my own eyes wet. His teacher knows his pain, too. But his teacher is better at hiding that old wound than I am. I force it back, I stuff it down, and I wait until my tears recede from the edges of my lids. I am only here to fix a different problem, and it's not this one.

No matter what he hears, no matter what anyone tells him, no matter how many people try to help him, he's the only one who can solve the problem. Eventually he will learn he has more strength and more power than he thinks he does. If he learns anything from the aftermath of a broken home, he will learn to release personal responsibility for his parents' choices. He will gain insight into the human condition and become compassionate about the darkness. He will see that light is always in the depths of despair. One day he will wake up and be happy. He will forgive his parents for the pain and the suffering. He will simply say "it's not worth it. It is time to let go."

It is time to enjoy what beauty exists in the world. And it is time to value and share who I am in this journey. It is time to not hide my pain, not stuff it down, not wish it away, not project it onto others so that it becomes a constant reflection that I cannot break. No, it is time to acknowledge it and make it into something good. Because I am good. Not evil, not bad, not lost, not wrong, not to blame. I am just like you. Just like me.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Wings of Trust

Trust. It's a heavy and scary word. At least it is for me some of the time. It may be that way for you, too. That's part of being human, isn't it? Sometimes we trust too fast and when we shouldn't. Sometimes we don't trust something or someone we had no reason not to. And some of us find it difficult to trust our own choices. Even when we've trusted ourselves and our decisions before. Even when our younger version gave little thought to the "what-ifs" and the big, long list of pending uncertainties. I think that's because part of being young means you don't always have that lingering experience that's conditioned you to say "remember what went 'wrong' when you did this last time." You start racking up experience and if it's not positive, it makes you more hesitant (maybe even unable) to trust that something or someone.

Trust is one of those internal convictions that requires you to believe in the unseen. On the other side of the coin of trust is its cousin faith. These two don't keep balance sheets, analyze the data, or debate the list of pros and cons. Nope. These two say 'this is what I feel to be my truth' and follow it. These two are the light in ordinary darkness. They don't dwell on what might be 'wrong' with what is; they seek the possibility of change, growth, and progress. These two always say "why not?" instead of making excuses.

Trust and faith helps us reveal something about who we are. Those answers without questions. Answers that only we know. Answers that don't stop revealing their truth. Trust and faith lead us to something we couldn't have seen otherwise. Something that we don't know how to touch. Sometimes we leave that 'something' smiling. We go back to the place where we've always stared at the moon. And sometimes we don't. Sometimes we leave the familiar for that something unseen.

If we're asked if we're happy with our choice, on some days we might say yes and some days we might say no. There is no sense in torturing yourself over lives you wished you had lived. Perhaps we get to live out all of our would-be choices. We split and divide into other people. Whispers that we only hear beneath tree boughs when we stop and wonder ‘what if?’ Sometimes we see each butterfly emerge from separate trees, identical in appearance, identical in the ways they fly. But they land on separate birches, never touching, never embracing, never quite seeing every leaf on the other branch. Once in awhile the butterflies look over at each other. They stare inquisitively, wondering ‘could that be me?’ One flutters its wings. The other sits and keeps staring. For awhile they both realize ‘it is you.’

They each learn to survive on their own birch; in their own tree. And each one learns to trust their choices. Not because those choices are easy or what will happen because of them. Because they know that it doesn't matter what the answer is. It's better to just ask the question and realize that reflection is always both an illusion and a revelation.

We find what we seek, but we also find what we may not want to see.