Thursday, April 12, 2012

Peace and Love, Kumbaya, and All That Shit

There’s something you should know about me. I don’t really like people as much as you think I like people. Sure, I love my family, I enjoy spending time with my friends, and I’m kind often even when others aren’t. Still. Don’t tell me your problems. And don’t think I care. I might pretend to listen. I might even look like I’m concerned or trying to help you with a solution, but this is all a front. It’s just a cover. You might find this strange given that I’ve chosen a very people-oriented field. After all, am I not supposed to WANT to sit and listen as others pore over their trials and tribulations? Am I not supposed to ENCOURAGE others to open up, to share? Am I not TRAINED to nod and reflect and make copious mental notes? Please. I find that so draining, such a bore. I’d rather beat my head against a brick wall, against any wall. Unless, of course, it involves some juicy bit of gossip or the most private of secrets, then by all means, do go on.

And this is the thing. I don’t really care either if you are concerned about MY issues. I will share and open up and pore over trials and tribulations of my own whether you listen or whether you don’t. I am not looking for a solution or pity or empathy or anything really. I’m just looking to empty my head so I can move on. You just happen to be in front of me.

I realize this all makes me sound like a major ass. For fear of confusing you even further, I’m not. I’m really not. Unless you think I am, then go with that. Feel free.

I actually do care about you, just not like you think. I don’t get warm fuzzies every time your face pops into my head. I don’t lie awake at night dreaming of the next time we’re together, wonder what it would have been like had we met earlier in life, or sit scribbling your name in curlicues all over my writing journals. No. I see you as a tool.

I know what you’re thinking. She’s not doing much to prove her case. But is it not true? We are all brothers and sisters on this planet we call home. What I do impacts you, maybe even if I never come into contact with you. The other day a student in my class comes up after lecture. She wants to let me know that a project I have assigned has helped her clarify her path, has helped her to better understand her direction in life. She wants to let me know that she appreciates my approach to teaching and that “We are lucky to have you.” We are lucky to have you. Who SAYS that?! I was humbled. I was moved. I saw myself as the tool I am. And I don’t mean that in the popular slang sense of the word. I saw myself as one piece in this puzzle of humanity. I saw myself as a local means to a global end. She was speaking as if from a higher source, and I was nothing more than a pawn. I took her words home that day. I felt joy in my heart that I had made a difference. I was kind to my children. I was pleasant to my spouse. I was silently euphoric. I did nice things. I cooked dinner. A real dinner. I smiled. I was patient. I am never patient. I remembered her words. We are lucky to have you.

When I step out the door each day, I impact humanity. I can impact my brothers and sisters in a positive way, or I can impact them in a negative way. I can build others up, or I can bring others down. Life is not about me. It is not about my needs. It is not about my problems. It is about the greater good. And yet, because I am the tool I am, it IS about me. I ask myself, am I doing everything I can to be all that I am here to be? Am I encouraging others to do the same? Am I shining a light where there may be darkness or doubt? Am I helping others to see the possibilities for their lives that I so clearly see when I speak with them, get to know them, understand who they are and what they are all about? Do I show them love?

Yes. Do I show them love? I do care. But I care about the whole. I care about all of us together. Hands joined. Peace and love. Kumbaya. All that shit. I care about the bigger picture, the grand scheme, humanity as a whole. You ARE important to me, but you are only one part of this complicated puzzle. We have work to do, you and I. Let’s not sit wallowing. Let’s build ourselves up, get over our problems. There are people out there with REAL problems. Let’s get to developing our strengths, nurturing our gifts, figuring out what it is that we have to share with others. Then let’s get out that door and go use those gifts, go share ourselves, go love people.


  1. This reminds me of something you wrote about a year ago. It makes me wonder of looking back on the piece and tying the two together might (oh god, there goes general Sherman attacking my door six, seven, eight times....die General Sherman!!!!!!!)Sorry! ...might tie together for some kind of angle (did I spell angel or angle, because I meant the thing with geometric connections) and also you might discover another layer. Does this make sense? I hope so because I just took a pain med for my back and I am a little floaty. Can you tell? Thank you for writing and sharing, and I love you!

  2. I love you, too, Lisa. And look at the date on this. I'm impressed that you remember it. This IS that essay you were thinking of.