I know it’s hard. These days, so many of us are so stuck in front of computers, it starts to feel as if our only connections are made via the internet. But it is a false connectedness. An illusion of connectedness. It does not have a pulse. It is pictures and snippets and songs, and sure, a momentary diversion can be nice... but it is not the Real Thing.
The good news is, we don’t have to be satisfied with internet connectedness; we can do better. We can still have the Real Thing, too. I went to breakfast this morning with a dear friend, and after two hours of chatting and laughing and talking about the last few weeks, I could tell we both felt rejuvenated and revitalized. The simple act of connection, and friendship, healed many wounds.
When we stay inside, indoors, keep to ourselves, hole up during the long cold days of winter, or the heat waves of summer, when we do not see friends, or go for walks, when we do not have coffee or set up a play-date… we stew. We stew in our own juices too much, and even if your juices are finer and fresher than most, one’s own juices will always go rancid at some point. You need to add other people’s juices, and other places besides your living room, to to freshen things up.
Have a cup of coffee with a friend; make time for a long walk; look at the sky and clouds, and the stars, and dream. Otherwise, you’ll go numb. Or worse, you’ll fixate on hate. Or hating all the hatred in the world. But the hate of hatred is, let’s face it… just more hate.
All summer, I’ve been waiting for a handful of career-things. Waiting to hear about a couple TV pilots I’m trying to sell; waiting to hear about a start-date on this TV show I’m supposed to be staffed on; waiting to hear if maybe this book I've been writing is worthy of being published. These things are all just waiting, in the wings, with a Curtain refusing to rise. It feels somehow wrong to be waiting because it’s summer, when (supposedly, allegedly) this is the season of blooms, when all things pollinated are now bursting forth, fulfilling their potential. But not me; I’m being asked to wait on blooming, on fulfilling my potential.
But... the result has been that I am forced to be in The Now, not in the future. And what a gift, that has been. Being asked to live in the present, to watch my beautiful child splashing in Lake Michigan with his best friend, to take lazy afternoons walks with him, engaged in nothing more earth-shattering than stopping somewhere for a drippy ice cream cone. And the feeling I get when I have spent my day like this is… I have done it. I have won. I have beaten down the bad guys. I have shut out the Hate in the world by doing simple, loving, pleasurable things. By reveling in my son’s love, and the love of his friends, and the love of my friends.
I find, at the end of such a day, that I am just so grateful. I’m so grateful for that odd, free morning with nothing to do. I’m so grateful for thrift-shopping, I’m so grateful for the beautiful, neighborhood pool where we can swim and sun ourselves; I’m so grateful for Lake Michigan, and that my almost 9-year-old still wants to cuddle. And my gratefulness fills me up, and suddenly I can past November 3rd, and I can see past hatred and ignorance, and I see past the next Supreme Court case, and I can feel (instead of worry, or anger, or frustration or hate) the joy and the harmony of everything.
I cannot control others. I cannot stop others from being hateful, or ignorant. All I can do is be loving, myself, and then take that out into the world. To lead by example. To love.
We fight off the bad-guys with love. It’s that simple. We fight off the bad-guys with love.