Thursday, December 15, 2016

From the Inside Out

Today is my birthday.

Today I turn the big 5.0.


How did this happen??

Savana asked me how it feels to be 50, and I told her, it feels just like it did when I was 12. And I imagine it will feel pretty much the same if I make 87.

Funny how that happens.

Funny how we are still just the inside looking out. Hopefully we gain a little something in our heads so that we become a bit wiser, a bit kinder, and gain a bit more perspective as the years roll by. But when it comes to just feeling like me...well, I still just feel like me.

Every morning Savana and I talk via FaceTime. She calls right around 6:45 am and we chat away until probably 7:15 or so and she fills me in on all of the goings on in her life. Yesterday when she called, we discussed the fact that when someone is not directly in front of your face, it's like they don't even exist at all. So when we pass people on the streets, it's almost like they are put there as scenery and then when they disappear from sight, it's like they just vanished into thin air, never to be thought of again.

Now of course I realize that people do, in fact, exist outside of me. But I think that this perspective of only seeing what is directly in front of me from the inside out is why it is so darned easy to have this "me" mentality and forget that a world exists outside of myself. Being selfish is natural simply because we are just ourselves, just one person.

I remember thinking about this when I was 7 or 8 years old. I had this sweet little friend named Kim and I just loved her. I loved her so much that I wanted to be her, and I often thought, what does it feel like to be you? I would watch her and try to sit exactly like her, holds my hands just like she held her hands, so that I could figure out how to feel like Kim, be like Kim...I used wonder what she did when she got home--how did she spend her time? What was she talking about? I found all of that quite fascinating and could spend a considerable amount of time thinking about it.

I was a weird child.

Yesterday a video was spiraling through Facebook of a teacher in Aleppo who uploaded his last goodbye to the world. Things have gotten really bad there and he isn't sure he will survive all of the upheaval. Ordinary citizens, including children, are being executed on the spot in the streets. And so, he talked about how he hopes that people will not forget Aleppo, that he has lost faith in the United Nations and their empty promises, that despite it all he still believes in the beauty of life.

It was a stunning, tragic video. He wasn't that old--maybe in his 30's, and after I watched it, I couldn't help but I am in my living room with decorative pillows thrown haphazardly on my couch, with lamps glowing, with my dog curled up on the loveseat, with my legs propped up by the recliner...

...and this man from Aleppo is huddled in a concrete building facing what is very likely the end of his life.

...and children are being slaughtered on the streets.

It is a sobering reality.

Of course, life has always been like that--through the ages. We suffer; we eat; we love; we play; we laugh; we cry; we live; we die. And the sun keeps shining and the moon keeps rising and time passes. Day after day.

And all the while, I just feel like me. I just see what's in front of me, from the inside out.

Yesterday Jace spent the evening with the Lewis family. I picked him up at 9:00 and as soon as he opened the car door, he said, "Mom! Did you know that we are going to run out of clean water on our planet by the year 2025? I have been researching how we are running out the very things we need to exist on this planet. We may have to move to Mars and I'm not even kidding! I love earth. I don't want to leave earth!"

(My son is a weird kid too.)

And so, I explained to Jace that there is lot on the Internet that encourages fear-based living. We talked about how we, as a people, must learn to be wiser, to be kinder, to be resourceful with our planet, to be minimalists and consider the future rather than being wasteful and selfish with our resources. That we need to educate ourselves and then take steps to be better.

"Well," he said, "do you think we're getting better?"

"I do, Jace," I said. "I do think we're becoming more aware of the world in which we live."

We discussed how one person making simple changes isn't much; but when one person makes simple changes, and then another makes simple changes, and so on...well, those simple changes become huge and just like that the world is changed.

And I believe that. I believe we are getting wiser, kinder, more aware. I am not a fear-based person and I don't think that our society is getting worse as the years roll by. In fact, I'd say we've come a good pace since those Roman gladiator days. We've made progress since the days of the Wild Wild West. I believe in our youth who are learning to see through kinder eyes and will work to improve our planet rather than exploit it.

And so, even though we are all just on the inside looking out, maybe our vision is getting a bit clearer. I shall hope so...

And meanwhile, I think I'll eat a piece of birthday cake.

Here's to 50.

And hopefully many more.

1 comment:

  1. Already said it, but Happy Birthday again!!! I'm glad your were a weird kid because it made you an awesome 50 year old!!!


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