We all have family. We all have friends. We have people we know all over the place, across the country or around the globe. Now, with the ancestry search craze, even in the heavens above and lifetimes lived previously. We don’t all have “people” to tend to life’s “list of things to do”, but we all have people in our lives. We find them in our neighborhoods, in our workplace, in the places we go and things we do everyday. Sometimes, we may also find them in our spare room or basement.
Moments after I woke one morning, my heart went out for someone I’ve never met. You see, although we’ve never met in person, this woman is a part of my everyday life. I love music. Anyone that knows me, knows that. Every single day of my life has been, and still is, filled with it. It runs through my veins. My father built some incredible sound systems, because he loved music. My parent’s home had a system that filled every inch of it, with music. So, during all my drives and all my chores, I listen to music. Sometimes, I just turn on the radio, instead of my personal playlists of favorites, just for ease. I’m not a fan of phone pranks or games though, so sometimes I channel surf a lot.
In doing so, we find ourselves flipping through certain stations, avoiding those things we dislike. No matter the avenue, we get familiar with, and come to know, some of those who bring these programs over the air waves. That morning, I turned on my system, poured a cup of coffee and began my day as usual. In moments, I learned that this woman I hear often, lost her baby boy. He was stillborn just one day prior to his due date. My heart broke, I was shocked, and I cried for her. I cried hard, for all three of them. That morning, there was no music. I didn’t channel surf, there were no pranks, there were no games.
On that morning, their program broadcast was completely different. This woman and her husband wrote a letter to all those who tune in and have become a part of their on-air “family”. During this immensely difficult time for them, having shared every part of the joy and excitement of it every day, they reached out to that huge, extended family to share their grief as well. The outpouring was incredible. I couldn’t help but think how amazing it is that people, whom we’ve never met, can touch our hearts, our lives, this way. In all that is going on in the world, this is what’s so amazing about the “humane” in humanity.
What makes us human, is emotion. Our hearts pump blood through our bodies, keeping us alive, but our heart also provides us with our emotions. That’s not a bad thing either, as I said, it’s what makes us human. We need to teach our children that it’s okay to feel. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to laugh. Emotions are okay. It’s how we deal with them, that varies. As children, what do we do when we’re afraid? When we’re sad? We run to Mommy, we run to Daddy. But, when we’re older, do you know where to turn if Mom and Dad aren’t there anymore and you’re scared? When you feel lost? For many, you seek out a friend. I’m not talking on social-media platforms, I’m talking in life. Yes, you may think you’re the “bomb”, because you have thousands of “friends” on-line, but you know, as well as we do, that you don’t know most of these people. Having a true friend to turn to can be a real game-changer for someone who feels hurt, scared or lost. Having someone you can trust, you can reach out to, is everything. You can truly change someone’s life, just by being a true friend, when they reach out to you. Sharing emotions, not emoji’s, is what defines a real connection between friends.
Who the hell said, “real men don’t cry?” Yes, they do. So do women, children and people of all walks, all ages. It’s an emotion that we all feel, at times. Just as laughter is. Children need to understand the value and importance of emotions. There’s nothing wrong with feeling them. It’s how you react to them, how you deal with them, that truly matters. We really should include this in the education, the raising of our children more and not be afraid to talk about them. If you have a temper, learn to control it, and not let it destroy you or your loved ones. Learn how to use it to your advantage, and only pull it out, when you need to protect yourself. Hopefully you won’t have to, but knowing it’s there, if you truly need it, can be helpful, especially if faced with a life-threatening situation.
Labels are far too easy. They make it easier for parents that “don’t have the time” to deal with what they see as a problem. Too many are working more, raising less. Parenting isn’t easy, by any means. Society finds it easier to “control” these problems by labeling and prescribing a “wonder drug” that holds the key to the solution. Our children are going to school, doped up, for one reason or another. Kids can’t be kids anymore. Kids are to mind, not question. Kids are to behave, not play. Kids aren’t supposed to cry. They’re not supposed to get angry. They’re not supposed to feel sad. If they do, there’s a pill for that. These children are the future. There are a great many minds among them, too. So, I ask myself, why would anyone want to suppress such a great mind in the making? We need to allow children to be just what they are…children. Why are we so eager to allow all the labels? Children explore. Children wonder. Children question. We have no idea what a child could come up with yet, they can be incredible, and amaze us, at the same time. We need to allow children, and their minds, to develop without the labels and pills. When they play, they learn to interact with others, we call them “social skills”. I know now a days, many people have lost this ability, due to the popularity of social media. If I had to choose between spending time on social media or playing with children…well, let’s just say, I’d be kickin’ some butt in “Loopin’ Louie” or reading to them about “Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”. I can guarantee to you one thing about that, too…I’d be enjoying every moment every bit as much, if not much more, than every one of those children.
We need to embrace emotions more, in our daily lives. We need to share them, in their raw form, more with those around us. I have friends who, at a mature age, still take pills because they were told they have “attention deficit disorder” or have trouble “focusing” on their jobs. Did it ever occur to anyone that this “job” or work most likely bores them to no end? Perhaps this is not what they truly should be doing? Have you ever really imagined yourself doing what you have a passion for? If money were not an issue, would you be doing that job? Have we been programmed into thinking that the nine-to-five mouse wheel is the way to “success”? Going through the same motions, at the same time, each day? Aren’t we supposed to know ourselves best? So, why do we allow ourselves to be convinced, or our children, to be controlled or labeled so readily? By doing so, aren’t we losing a part of ourselves? Suppressing something about us that makes us unique, in some way? What if that were the key, to what could’ve been a total “game-changer” for your life or theirs? What if it were a miracle in the making and we didn’t see it? That would be like hitting the jackpot and never checking your ticket.
The other day, I was going for a walk. I got to the end of my driveway and there was a little boy riding his bike with his mother at his side. They were new neighbors. He had to be about 2 or 3 years old. His little bike had training wheels and he had his helmet on, which was a dinosaur head. He caught me watching him, smiling at the sight. He couldn’t take his eyes off me and I said “Dude, you are riding that bike so good!” He said, “thank you” and his mother told me his bike is new and he’s out practicing. I told him, “well, you are doing really good, but be careful, because you’ve got a dinosaur on your head!!” With that, my eyes got big, my shoulders scrunched up and my hands were on my cheeks. His smile grew so big, so beautiful, so genuine, it was truly heart-warming. I went on my walk wearing a much bigger smile on my face than usual, treasuring every moment of that connection with them. Later, while walking through a local park, I had a similar encounter with a boy of about 7 years old practicing soccer with his mother. The ball was a bit smaller than usual because he was so little. Of course, having coached both my kid’s teams, I was enjoying her time with him, reminiscing myself. I had to tell him how well he was doing, he felt so proud and began to show me his skills. As I continued my walk, he suddenly ran up to me out of nowhere, saying “hi” with a big smile on his face. He wanted to talk more with me. So, we talked about soccer and how much he liked it. I told him about my connection to it, all the while his mother was at least 50 feet away, catching her breath, enjoying the break. There was no fear, no “stranger danger”, no masks, no social distancing. Just human emotions shared amongst us all.
Walking in nature is something I love to do. I wear nothing on my face but a smile. I love all the people I meet. Hearing the laughter, seeing the joy in togetherness, people hugging, stealing kisses, seeing so many that know this is how we are supposed to be living our lives. Mother Nature working in tune with human nature. Sharing moments. Sharing time. Sharing raw, un-censored emotions. We are human, not perfect. It really is in our nature to be compassionate, to care about others. It’s the ways of the world that make some become self-absorbed. Our society, our world has done things to many people. This is changing, though. As people realize how much is so wrong about the world around them, they are coming together to combat those things we’ve been so programmed to accept, for way too long. People are breaking free from the mold we’ve been living in.
Returning to that park, I walked under the trees and out to each pier, enjoying the lake, the sun, the air. I was on the small pier where some go fishing where I came upon a man with his little boy. The boy saw me coming and immediately began telling me “they keep taking the worms!”, pointing at the water. His dad said he’d put another worm on the hook, without ever looking at either of us. I told the boy I don’t like worms. This little boy began to tell me about all the stuff in his tackle box. Of course, I talked with him about all the things he had, told him how awesome it was that he was fishing with his dad and how happy I was that he was having so much fun. His dad still never looked at either of us. This little guy had his cap on backwards, looking so adorable. He never stopped talking to me the entire time I was on that pier. After some time, I began walking again and wished him a wonderful time. That little boy was still talking to me when I was back in the park and off the pier, yelling “where are you going?” at me. It was so beautiful I didn’t want to leave. I felt I should, not getting a good vibe from his dad. This little guy seemed so attracted to the genuine attention I gave him, having someone really talking and listening to his every word. Just pure, just simple, just raw.
I recently made friends with a young man that I had the opportunity to converse with for a short time. He hasn’t had it easy, trying to overcome the world he lives in that he doesn’t feel much of a connection with. He has had labels and such he’s dealt with for much of his life. During our time, I couldn’t believe how intelligent he was, having his own unique outlook on certain issues. I was blown away, talking with him, hearing his depth. I was compelled to take his face in my hands and tell him how amazing I felt he was, that he is a star child, with a positive energy and has as many opportunities ahead of him as there are stars in the sky. He turned his head slightly, wiped a tear from his eye and told me no one has ever said those things to him before. All I will say, is that he’s becoming more powerful every day and knows he’s only just begun the journey of the magic he will share with the world, as he lives his life, on his own terms, with his own truths to be told.
There are times I get visited by a man, with special needs, who lives in a nearby living facility. He came one day because he was frustrated and scared. He doesn’t like the masks. He’s confused about the distancing. We talked about it all for a while. I told him he’s always welcome to come and talk with me any time he feels scared or confused by the things going on in the world or just to talk if he needs to. Each time, he feels better. He trusts me. He calls me his friend, and I value that. He is sweet, has never hurt anyone, but is very much alone too. I try to catch up with him whenever I see him riding by my house on his bike. We share moments. We share time. We share friendship, I know this means a lot to him. At the end of our visit, we share a hug. I always keep an eye out, for his return.
No matter how crazy your life gets, it’s truly amazing just how simple it is to care about another. Stepping off the mouse wheel, giving someone a little pure, raw emotion. Sharing moments. Sharing time. Sharing love. Sharing friendship. Making memories. Making a difference. Although we are all being pushed to divide, now more than ever, it’s vitally important to remain together. Let’s not let go of what makes us imperfect, what makes us beautiful beings, what moves us, what makes us human. Hold on tight, it may get a little worse before it gets better, but I believe with all my heart that we will have a world more beautiful than any one of us could have ever imagined.
PS: The heart in the title photo is from the playhouse that my father built for us kids. He called me his “pixie” back then and told me that was my heart, and it held the whole house together. Preparing his home before his passing, he took down that playhouse and gave me that heart. It hangs in my home to this very day.