Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Find A Thing

Find a thing that you love
Find a thing you understand

- Vance Joy, "My Kind of Man"

* * *

Everything changes all the time. We pretend this isn't true. We hide the fact of it from our consciousness so we can hold onto what ever is dear and meaningful to us. The slow slippage of age is hardly noticed until at some point there is a disruption in the slow decay and a parent or grandparent dies and we look through old photographs and marvel that they were ever young. Everything changes all the time in all places and we hold it at bay because we love this one moment so well, or in the obverse believe our pain is somehow permanent, a fixture, immutable. If we are lucky we see through our defenses. We see through the illusion of stasis and find rest in motion, our bodies in motion while they can still move.

How is such a thing possible? How can a body in motion ever find rest? Newton's First Law of Motion suggests otherwise.

You find a thing that you love. You find a thing you understand and live there, letting that love and understanding accompany you wherever you go, through all the changes that will course over you.

* * *

We each believe we are unique, an ultimate expression of life when in fact we are simply the current iteration of life. Our uniqueness is in recognizing that and still finding meaning and purpose in the life in our hands. For some it is too much to bear and they retreat to comfortable stories about the afterlife, about an anthropomorphic God and leave the wonderment of being alive behind for the certitude of death.  Others find in the infinitude of space the same emptiness they drag beside themselves - proof of their fear and anger that it is so. But, there are others still who find a thing they love and carry it with them, inside of them, throughout their travels. It is neither a promise of heavenly delight, nor the blackness of the abyss, but instead is the animating spark of their humanity. It makes them kinder, more patient, more understanding. It allows them to be brave, courageous, willing to sacrifice. What you love is different than what I love, and even if it were the same we would go about it differently. But all that matters is that you find it and live according to the demands it places on you to be kinder and gentler than you might otherwise be.  To find the thing you understand is to find the boat that will carry you across your time. What waits on the further shore is all conjecture. What matters, my love, is how you use your time getting there.

Find a thing that you love.
Find a thing you understand.

It doesn't have to be grand. In fact, I'd argue that grandeur is a sign you've fallen off the rails. No, the thing you love is scaled to your size, your life, your dreams. If you dream of feeding the hungry, then feed one man and your dream is fulfilled. If you want to house the homeless and you raise one roof, you have lived out the fullness of that desire. If the thing you understand is the unspeakable depths of the love you have for your children and you teach them by your example how to be kind, willing to love, then all is well, my friend. All is well. I think we dream outsized dreams so we never have to fulfill them, their distance is so great, the cause so noble and we can be contented that we meant well. But isn't loving your child, your beloved, your partner, your spouse as you two share part of the road together a miracle? It is humanity's one greatness: the ability to love. Find that. Live there. It is sweetness itself - not treacly sentiment - but sweetness as of cut grass and the smell of rain and the taste of your lover's skin.

* * *

Everything changes all the time. Through the love you find along your way you, too, will be changed. Fear becomes meaningless when you understand that we are here to love the best we can, to keep each other company - on a human scale: the scale of one loving another, the scale of one life alive to itself and doing the best you can with what that means to you.

How we express it is different for each of us, but the same truth holds for us all:

Find a thing that you love.
Find a thing you understand.

This is how you become a body at rest while in motion. Newton had this part wrong.

* * *

Boom.

___________


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