“Let me live in my house by the side of the road—and be a friend to man.”
This past weekend was my 40th class reunion. One of the classmates had brought a year-book (of course), and I paged to the senior class and found my picture. That long blonde-haired girl look so serious and yet so intent on her future. Beneath my picture the year-book staff had added the above quote. It made me smile as I thought about who I have become over the past forty years. Here I am in my little house by the side of the road—writing each week to strangers and friends, seeking to build a perfect world, wanting to erase its imperfections, and yet wise enough to know that the task is impossible for any one person.
I want to be a friend to man (and woman).
Back then I simply wanted a place at the table. I wanted to be a force, an influence, a wisdom keeper. My dreams were sky-high. As I’ve grown older, my dreams have been burnished like old brass or silver. The shine is dimmer but all the more beautiful for the scuffs. I still want to be a force, but can see that my reach is small.
Today when I woke up and saw the sun streaming in across my pretty oak table, I took a picture so that I could capture just that single moment of beauty. I realize now that all we really have are single moments of beauty strung together across a lifetime. Some of us take notice, some don’t. Some of us are happy—some aren’t. You do the math.
Unhappiness is a construct of the mind. It sours the sweetness of life. It turns a simple communication into a harmful blaze. If you want to find a place at the table, you have to see the table.
It has been such an odd week. Let me ramble.
My class reunion, our part in a sustainable homes tour, two presentations to kick start a youth radio project, and of course, the gardens and the house. Tonight I’m feeling both reflective and full of bull. I have to admit—I’m a bit pissed off that my reach is so small. No matter how much I do to contribute, a small voice in my head says it is not enough, was never enough, will never be enough. Another small voice in my head says, “Shush, you tyrant—leave me alone.”
Today I spent the day putting together my presentation for a Pecha Kucha (20 x 20) presentation later this month. I decided to do my presentation on The Bead People International Peace Project. Instead of talking about the project, I decided to just read the story, but instead of using my barely adequate illustrations from The Wind of a Thousand Years, I began to slip in pictures to illustrate the true meaning of the story—that this long cycle of human beings on planet earth has to be seen in perspective, that events occur that toss people here, there, and everywhere–and that the wind of a thousand years has not yet ceased. It still goes on.
We divide and separate—and then kill over that divide. I slipped in an image of an army tank, immigrants at Ellis Island, a tribal village, a storm cloud. I added in a few of the simple images from the book and the combination of those images disturbed me. Am I being too political? Too preachy? Is it wrong to want to create a world where divides are not automatically created between races, between rich and poor, between the righteous and the damned? Is that reach so far, so impossible that it will never be caught? Peace? World Peace? Family Peace? Is there room at the table for all to have their basic needs met, to find health and happiness, to create community instead of endless divide, separate and conquer? Is there? I can’t seem to help myself, I want to reach.
I realize now that all we really have are single moments of beauty strung together across a lifetime.
Take a seat at the table.
Reach out to others.
Do what is within your reach.
Just do it.
And tell your busybody negative mind to take a long hike.
Note: As always, help me extend my reach by forwarding this to friends you think might be interested. Subscribe to my weekly blog by signing up in the upper right-hand corner. Also, here are links to learn about the fun of a Pecha Kucha Night and The Bead People International Peace Project.
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