My daughter played “Frosty the Snowman” on the piano last night. As I watched and listened and smiled, I saw my little girl as a young woman and was happy and sad at the same time. Time moves swiftly. It seems she was just beginning kindergarten, then I blinked and she’s now in seventh grade. I guess life is just like this.
My son drives himself each morning to his college classes. As junior “running start” student, he attends both college and high school classes. In my wallet, I keep an old picture of him as a toddler with big dark eyes and little teeth, grinning and standing on a box in his small sneakers. Our feet are now nearly the same size, though his are hairier. Though I love him all the way through, I miss his bald-feet days.
In a world filled with much strife and struggle, I always return home to these beautifully annoying creatures. I care much about others and wish good things for everyone, but my heart and soul lives with my family. I think it’s this way for everyone lucky enough to have a family. Much posturing surrounds global events with incendiary language and provocative stances, but I suspect a lot of this outrage is phony. Most people reserve true love for their families and true hate for those who would harm them.
Life is a personal business. We all live in a certain sized bubble and while we’re connected more and more through technology, I don’t think our bubble sizes change that much through these exchanges. We love who we love the most…the most. I believe this is as it should be. It’s where we begin. It’s the foundation upon which we can stand and share ourselves with others. Without a firm base life is slippery. Family is our safe haven we can always return to following our journeys. I think this is true for every human being.
Media seems to enjoy creating division and conflict and has been successful in telling a part of the story. People are different in some ways, certainly. Culturally, we do things differently. We think differently and act differently. But, I don’t think we FEEL differently. And this, I believe, is an important thing to consider. The heart of humanity is in the heart, not the mind. And I refuse to believe that a mother or father in any land loves her/his kids less than I love mine. We are connected here. It’s humanity’s foundation.
It’s also a place to start. From here, leading with our tremendous capacity for love, the good people can and will create a better world and, gratefully, there are many more good people than bad. The bad people just make more headlines. Trusting that others are capable of great love allows for possibility. Hate and fear eliminate possibilities.
While the challenges we face are complicated ones, they are not impossible. They are not even new. Throughout history, bad people have done bad things. This is and will always be true. So what? They don’t define all people, just bad people. They are unique in their badness. They only represent themselves. And they are few compared with all the good people. Knowing this, I am not afraid of them.
I am afraid of my son making a dumb, irreversible choice. I’m afraid of my daughter’s young heart being hurt. These are my true fears. These unnerve my heart. While I am not indifferent to the sad things happening to other good people, I have tremendous faith in them being temporary. I have tremendous faith in the resilience and compassion of good people and know that we will prevail through any atrocity. Good people are survivors. Bad people are not.
Comforted by this faith and understanding that all of life is temporary, I’m going to enjoy all of the brief moments in my kids’ temporary childhoods and leave the rest of the noise to the people who think it means something…I’m too busy loving what I love most…
[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, whose first book is called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). Dave also extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland Fitness!]