Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sometimes...



     Good day all! For whatever reason, I have been nudged to dust off this post I had placed a while back on my blog. Since I did know many of you then, I hope you will not find offense in my re-posting it again here. It is a soft reflective piece that after re-editing, I am appreciative that this gift of insight was bestowed to me. Since it is a nice Sunday here in the Midwest USA, I felt like sharing some of the sun via text. Enjoy!

SOMETIMES...

      I wonder how things may be or could have been; maybe to experience life in someone else's shoes to experience a different perspective. Maybe there is something I am missing. Sometimes I get to thinking about stuff that I know probably is unhealthy, but sometimes it feels good. It is like retrieving my blanket from childhood that is tattered and forbidden to someone of my age. Sometimes I don’t care; I simply want to think about stuff. Stuff that makes me better understand not only me but others. I find that by thinking about these things, perhaps traveling in lands that may be scary, dark, and threatening, I emerge on the other side with a wisdom achieved only by overcoming pain, or comfortably sitting in the warm spot left behind by others who have gone before me.


     Sometimes I wish I was blind. I often wonder if it would keep me from seeing the color of skin, the color of a flag, the size of a house, or the dilapidated car a person has to drive. I am by no means prejudiced or am I at all one to judge a person's life path or disposition. I find I am the first to dive in the fire to stand up for one who may endure the judgment of others because of an external appearance. I just wonder if being blind I would only listen to the music of one's voice. I wonder if I would only hear the symphony of what is going on around me to where most miss the subtle nuances that create the ambient accompaniment of our day to day lives. Would I no longer have to see ones' skin color, hair length, clothing labels, addresses, swagger, and smile? Would a lack of seeing take away assumptions or judgments or the immediate default to an awareness I may be doing so, and a desire to reconnect with my spiritual self? I think I would miss art. I would miss the expression on my loved ones' faces in their reaction to life happening around them. I would miss sunrises and sunsets. Yes, I would miss faces; all faces. I would miss exploring. I would miss the ugliness I confront that prompts me to wonder how I can do my part to overcome it. Sometimes I wish I was blind. Only sometimes.

     Sometimes I wish I was deaf. I would be able to no longer hear the words of people trying to discourage others due to the differences in thought, politics, religion, sex, race, and creed. I would not hear words of hate. I would not hear the anger spewing from people who do not seem to desire to understand and accept that there are others who exist in difference to be able to allow the difference in myself to exist in my own unique beauty. I wonder if being deaf I would not be tempted to listen to the gossip and negative stories that are abundant and tempting. The stories that allow us to self righteously feel we are better, privileged, or separate. I too then think I would miss the songs that come from my children as they hum a non-descript tune they make up as they swing, or play. I would miss the trickle of water as it calms me while I sit in the presence of a creek side. I would miss the whisper of the wind as it passes through the trees while I quietly sit and reflect on my patio. Birds; I would miss the song of birds. Sometimes I wish I was deaf. Only sometimes.

     Sometimes I wish I were mute. I would have to give up trying to show my smarts in a conversation which often times ends up being a lesson in ignorance. I would no longer be able to simply wait to talk, but would have to eternally listen. I would be placed in a position to see that connection does not exclusively come from dialogue, but the ability to become silent in the presence of another. I may find that my not speaking connects me as much as when I open my mouth. I would lose my ability to vocalize my anger and not be able to use my words which can cut like a knife and often take longer to heal. I think though that I would miss the ability to say a kind word to someone. I find that what nourishes me the most is the ability to verbally pick someone up when they have fallen. I also like to pass on words of encouragement and enlightenment to my children. I like sharing stories and laughter with those around me. I would miss speaking maybe more than those around me. I must remember to use my words as if they were precious and in limited supply. Sometimes I wish I were mute. Only sometimes.

     Sometimes I wish I were disabled. I often wonder what it would be like to rely on others for movement, for food, for companionship. I wonder if I would perhaps gain a better appreciation of my surroundings and the significance to where I spend my time. Perhaps I would see the precious gift I have in health and mobility and better understand the significance of being able to enter and exit my location at will. I may reflect on the monumental blessing of being able to go out into the world and connect with others when I find now I may be too lazy to reach out, or call, or visit a loved one. I wonder if I would take care of myself better. I wonder if I would realize that the gift of companionship or company is a gift I can freely share where others who have abundance are stifled by the lack of the ability to drive, or pick up a phone. I guess I can look around to see where I may be able to reach out. I can look at ways that I can extend myself more so to those who may find solitude sometimes excruciating, and the silence of being alone deafening. I guess I do take mobility for granted. I need to think of that more. Sometimes I wish I were disabled. Only sometimes.

     Sometimes I wish I were physically different. Maybe obese or missing a limb, or with a unique disfiguration. It may teach me to be able to appreciate walking into a room without someone snickering or judging under furrowed brow. I would be better able to understand what it is like to blend in, to find that I am bland enough to not draw looks from others in fear or contempt. I could appreciate going for a long walk, the ease of playing with my children on a trampoline. I could find that my smile would be the first thing that is seen by others as opposed to that which makes me different. I may be able to stop taking for granted that my "label" would be my name and not my disposition, “the fat one”, “the short one”,” the weird one.” I would appreciate the music of my name more so as it would be used to identify me and not my condition. My shape is not who I am. Sometimes I wish I were physically different. Only sometimes.

     As I reflect I see how by sometimes wondering, sometimes placing myself in a different situation, I am better able to be compassionate. My compassion and awareness of the needs of others I find is paramount to understanding who I am and my place in the world. Sometimes I lament that I am unable to help someone in one of the above situations, but now find I am wrong in that assumption. I can always extend compassion, and respect those with needs and affliction with the respect I will desire when negative circumstances come into my life. Sometimes I will not follow through, and sometimes I will fail myself and others when my actions will not live up to what I already am aware. Sometimes I will need the same compassion extended to me, and sometimes by not receiving it, I will perhaps be reminded of its' value and importance. Sometimes.

6 comments:

marcime said...

enjoyed that one - makes me understand a bit how your mind and spirit work in tandem -
~m

Katherine Jenkins said...

Great writing Tony. We all deserve love and understanding. It takes a great deal of both to open up and move beyond the parameters of the physical aspects of ourselves. So much of humanity is stuck in this realm..the external. We live by this. I feel, through your writing, that there is a desire to move beyond these external things that define us and into something much more universal..into something that connects us rather than separates us. Nicely done.

Beth Chapman said...

Great "ethistle" (something beautiful but pokes) Tony. Growing up in the south, during the maelstrom of the civil rights movement, your words capture the essence of what was fought for and fought against. Continue to see differences and hues and paint, with your words, more portraits of understanding and appreciation of all our human uniqueness. I really enjoyed this, thank you.

Deb said...

That is so beautifully written! Thanks for sharing it here.

Heather Conroy said...

This piece would be a welcome and very fitting addition to Sharon Egan's (a contributor here) Diversity Writers website http://diversitywriters.net/

The website was launched this month. Check it out!

Tony Anders said...

Thanks all! - I like to "venture out" from time to time. @Heather - I will indeed check it out!
Thanks again all and I enjoy everyone's work here as well!