A couple of weeks ago, Andrew gave us the word "SHINE" for our blogging assignment. As usual, I am late due to stewing over what this word meant to me. Interestingly, since I don't believe in concidence, I have had several epiphanies these past two weeks that have led me back to this word.
Originally, I thought about a time in my past where there was this extremely intelligent but unpleasant woman that I worked with. I focused way too much time complaining about her various traits and habits that annoyed me until one day I realized that her path in life was the same as mine - to love and be loved in return. To be understood and to understand in return. Realizing this allowed me to let go of the dissonance I felt towards her. Oddly enough, the man I was seeing at the time noticed this shift in my demeanor that day. While I can't say that this lesson stayed with me for very long, I still remember that day and had planned to share that story here but didn't get to it right away...
Then yesterday occurred. I was driving to Issaquah to run errands and was listening to a story on NPR about an Iraqi woman who went by the name of Sarah. She worked for the U.S. to gather intelligence on the Iraqi militia and had a real gift for people wanting to open up to her and talk. As she told her story, the listener followed her growth from the role of an Iraqi housewife to an empowered woman working against the repression of Sadam Hussein's regime. She was well known by the opposition and had been given the name "The Lion". The pride in her voice was inspiring to hear at that point of the story. The story took a turn soon enough as she told about a local woman whose home was at a very strategic point in the city. She began to be in daily contact with this woman, they became friends and she met and came to care about the woman's familiy. One day, the husband called to tell her that his wife had been taken away by the militia. Sarah begged for assistance from the U.S. military and tried to negotiate with the Iraqi militia for her release, but a couple of weeks later she heard from the husband once more. His wife had been killed. I started to cry at this point as it seemed so crazy and futile. The story went on from there and became even more sad. I didn't hear the end of it as I arrived at the store and left the car. However, in the short time between starting to cry and pulling off of the freeway, I made a resolution. This world needs to change and today it will start with me. Going back to that day long ago, it is time to once more realize that we are all here to love and be loved...to be understood and understand in return. It is time to throw aside thoughts about others that are non-productive. Really, in the scheme of things, does it matter if someone wears too much perfume or hairspray? If they are rude and insinuating? Unless someone's actions might cause you personal harm, let it go. In your heart and mind, send them the thought that there are kinder, gentler ways to achieve one's needs.
Another item I came across yesterday that reinforced my thoughts were the words written on the bottom of a Nature's Path cereal box. "Always leave the Earth better than you found it" ~ Rupert Stevens. He was talking about organic farming, but I really think it applies to everything that we do in life. A few minutes later, the sun blasted a hole through the overcast and rain that permeated our pre-spring Saturday. It felt warm on our faces and hit the thermometer outside the kitchen window driving it up to almost 60 degrees. A coincidence? I think not.
So leave a legacy of kindness, tolerance, love and understanding. Be a shining example of humanity in your life.