You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2010.

As I try to rebuild my perspective, to “learn to live” again, I keep coming back to this image of building blocks, a foundation maybe, that will be at the core of who I want to be. If you’ve been reading my posts, you’ll know that love is definitely one of those blocks, the biggest maybe. But.. I’ve written a lot of posts about love already.

The past few days I’ve been thinking about compassion… I guess you could say that’s a close relative of love.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to dehumanize people? To see them only in the context of who they are to you and nothing more?

It’s crazy when you think about it. Every person you see is, well, a real person- a person with hopes and dreams, countless memories and experiences. Every person was once a baby, a child, an adolescent and so on.

Sometimes I look at older people and think about how I can’t even begin to fathom all the experiences they’ve had- the joy they’ve felt, the hurt they’ve encountered.

At the risk of sounding extremely cliche and cheesy, every person really is a miracle… a walking miracle.

Your boss.

Your annoying coworker(s)

The clerk at the gas station

The crossing guard you pass every day

The police officer who gave you a speeding ticket

The man eating by himself at McDonalds

The stranger on the street

The hobo

There are over six billion people on the planet.

So on so forth… they’re all real people.

And, I guess it would be my goal to work more towards keeping that in mind. It’s one of those big picture things that required you to step outside of your own world and realize how very small you are… and how very big at the same time.

Advertisements

Last night I went to an open mic night downtown. I stepped outside for a smoke and an older man with a white beard approached.

It was one of those conversations that you hope you’ll always remember.

We talked about music- Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. “Bring it back to the basics,” he told me.

I’ve talked to lots and lots of people outside of this cafe. My guard is always up against what I like to call “creepers.”

Something about this guy didn’t strike me that way though…

He told me, “I don’t know what it is lately… I’ve just been waking up every morning and loving everybody.”

“Yeah?

“Yeah.” He takes a drag of his cigarette. “I’m not going to try to understand everyone, but… my heart is just full of such… such love for them. You know?”

“Yeah, I do. The world could use more people like you.”

Silence.

“Where do you think that love comes from?” I ask, curious if I’m going to hear the pitch for Christianity next, if he’s going to pull out the conveniently placed religious tract and invite me to his church.

“Honestly? Between you and me?” He trails off for a moment. “I think it’s from God.”

He gauges my reaction.

“I just… I look around at all these people,” he gazes across the street where dozens of high schoolers are hanging out, “and I see a generation that is so lost. I have my bad habits too,” he says, glancing at his cigarette, “but… ” he trails off again with his head down. As he looks up, I see tears in his eyes. He looks at me and apologizes. “I just pray for them. I care about them; I really do.”

We talk about a few other things. He advises me to get more into nature. I smile and say I will. Little does he know how passionate I am about nature.

He was legit. He was passionate. Maybe he was lonely. I really don’t know.

But something about what he said… and how he said it… it gave me a lot of hope.

I’m a rambler. If you get me talking and I’m comfortable, I can go on and on. I do it all the time to my boyfriend. I joke with him that he must be so sick of my stories, but he always laughs and says he likes them. I just laugh.

But then he remembers a small detail of something I told him weeks ago and he’ll bring it up… as if he really is listening the whole time. It feels good to feel that he is really listening to what I’m saying, even when it isn’t on a really important subject. I love him for that.

Sometimes it’s those little things…

Work has been stressful, but overall good. The program I worked at in Milwaukee was much higher quality, so I can get easily frustrated at the daycare I work at now. The kids really do make it worth it though. Some days, though, I’m just itching to get out of there because it’s so crazy and I’m so bothered by some of the things that go on. The other day I felt like that.. and this little two-year-old said the word “bubble” and suddenly I was so refreshed. See, he’s been really delayed in speech. Lately I had been getting him to say some words like “hey” and “no” and such, but he said “bubble” and I just felt so proud of him. Those moments remind me why I love kids so much. Again, the little things…

I’ve been struggling lately. I sort of just stopped seeing the psychologist I was seeing a few weeks ago. I felt like he wasn’t the right fit for me, and he ended up canceling an appointment because he was sick, and I just never called back to make another appointment. I really need to be in therapy… intensive therapy. Things aren’t nearly as bad as they a few months ago, but even as I start feeling better it almost makes me feel worse to understand how long the road in front of me is.

There’s a lot to look forward to though as well.

What little things mean a lot to you?

Dear WordPress, it’s been too long! Last time I was absent for a while it was because I was cycling through a more difficult time, but this time it’s honestly because I’ve been a little more busy (a good thing) and now I’m in South Dakota again.

I believe I was here about six weeks ago. My grandma, aunt, uncle, and cousins live here, so we come out to visit a couple times a year. Unfortunately, a couple weeks after we got back last time my grandma had a bit of a fall and although she was relatively uninjured, her doctor finally told her that it was time for her to not live alone anymore. Sad, but in all honestly a good thing.

So I’m out here again helping my mom sort through my grandma’s apartment. It isn’t too bad because about ten years ago my grandparents moved here from their house in Iowa, so we had sorted and got rid of a lot of stuff back then.

It’s been interesting going through all of this stuff. Listening to my mom, grandma and aunt talk about old memories and relatives that I’ve never met- it reminds me how I’m a part of something bigger that I never really even think about… and that I come from people and places I’ve never really known or seen. Even within one generation there is so much unknown. I often wonder how much about my mom’s life I don’t really know. As much as she’s told me about her memories of growing up, those are all from her point of view… and I’m sure things would seem different even just hearing those stories from my aunt’s point of view.

My grandparents were never super close to us. They just weren’t the type to show a lot of  affection. Birthday cards would come on time every year, and I saw them several times a year even though we lived in separate states, but they weren’t all that interested in really getting to know me. I’m not complaining; that’s just sort of how it was.

So they’ve always seemed sort of… rigid to me. My grandpa was a pastor too. I have enormous respect for who he was- he went through a lot as a pastor and as a man, and his faith never seemed to falter. He was a great man.

While my aunt was going through my grandpa’s desk, she came across some letters that my grandma wrote to my grandpa. Some were from before they were married, and others after, while he would be away at church conferences or other things. I haven’t read them yet, but I am really looking forward to it.

People always talk about how the divorce rate has gone up so much. Although the institution of marriage has probably really suffered in the last few decades, I doubt that it has honestly gotten that much worse. I think that a lot of people just stayed in very unhappy marriages their whole lives.

It gives me such joy and hope when I see an older couple strolling down the street with their fingers entwined. To hear about these love letters does the same…

I don’t think it’s about finding your one true love; I think it’s about finding a true love and keeping it true.

Working thousands of hours in the daycare field has granted me a pretty inside view into a lot of different types of marriages- marriages of the wealthy, the older, the younger, the poorer, those on state aid…. I’ve even spent time in a lot of their houses, babysitting their children. Many of them have turned to me for help on raising their kids.

In viewing these relationships/marriages, I’ve noticed a lot.

1. Having a lot of money doesn’t make you a better parent.
2. Having a lot of money doesn’t make your marriage better. (duh!)
3. Being on federal or state aid doesn’t make you a bad parent.
4. Although maybe if you’re on government aid, have five kids who never get baths and are pregnant with another… you should learn how to use birth control.

Okay, sorry to get political. Back to the relationship thing.

5. I’ve seen the couples who put their child before their own marriage. I am a product of this type of upbringing. Trust me, this will not benefit you, your spouse, or your child(ren.)
6. I’ve seen couples who “stay together for the kids.” Again, this benefits no one in the long run…
7. I’ve seen couples who are very good at functioning. They make a pretty good team in terms of who’s picking the kids up, who’s taking them to soccer/gymnastics etc., who’s picking up/making dinner, so on and so forth… but I sense that it’s more of a business arrangement than anything else. This type of couple is the most mysterious to me.
8. Finally, I’ve seen the couples that really do seem close. Not that they don’t fight.. or disagree… or do things as parents that I wouldn’t do as a parent, but… I can’t really put my finger on it.
9. Finally, I’ve seen couples who I’ve made observations about only to realize that I was way off. A sort of disclaimer I guess.

I don’t ever just want to have a functioning/business type of relationship/marriage. I know it’s easy for me to say that now. I’m working part time and I’m not even in school. I have so much time to spend with Cody. Whoever I end up marrying (if I do marry,) I’m not saying that I know how we’ll manage to get the time in, how to find the right ways to communicate and all of that, but I’m just saying I realize how important it is.

See, I want to be writing love letters like my grandmother, long after we’ve gotten married and had kids. Not necessarily “How do I love thee?” type love letters, but letters that may just say, “I got my haircut today and I really hope you like it. I miss you. I love you.”