A day off, some down time, some writing, some remembering what counts. It’s amazingly easy to get caught up in the rush of everything passing by, a passive observer of life. Even the smallest errand can quickly turn into wondering if this is what you’re really meant to do, or if it’s just easier to copy, go along with the crowd, fit in, look the part.
I was assisting at a commencement last night, and I watched one woman ascend onto the stage, her two small children gazing around in wonder, holding tightly to her hand. She waited in line, her hood in the other hand, about to bow her head for the ritual that would mark her passage and arrival at her doctorate. Her children looked awed, and her head held high, she stood resolute, shaking the hand of the university president, hugging her mentor, little sign of the effort this journey had taken, aside from her determination to share this moment with her children.
Blinking away tears, I thought of the quote from Antoine de St. Exupéry:
Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.
In other words, you see what counts only with your heart. For that, the heart needs to be open. So I’m thankful for last night, and the quick, unexpected jump start.
This morning, getting a coffee that I hoped would remove some of the puffiness from my eyes and my brain, I thought I’d look at the clothes shop up the street. It’s a nice place. It all looked nice, the repetitive patterns of 20 tank top and sweater sets stacked neatly next to some statement jewelry promising order. Faintly annoyed, but uncertain as to whether at myself or what was on offer, I headed towards the door. A woman was pushing a stroller. I held the door open for her, first one, then the other. Two sets of doors always tricky with a stroller, I know. After each door, she coughed out a dry little “got it, thanks, got it, thanks.” It was as though I had either interrupted her self-sufficiency, or perhaps she was so used to the homeless people that hold open doors for money, she was worried my next move would be my hand out.
I’m sorry for her, and sad for all of us when our hearts are closed, and our souls cut off. Because life does have surface noise. A lot of it.