Wednesday, July 31, 2013

like a world with no gravity

Growing old is getting old
I often find myself here thinking
About the birds, the boats, and past loves that flew away or started sinking
--Stars, FUN.

In the middle of Miss Nelson is Missing, which was the star of yesterday's story-time, my mind traveled far away from the room of 4-6 year olds, as I experienced a semi-paralyzing moment of: Lord have mercy on us all, what should I do after I finish doing college; and if I do it, will I have health insurance or grocery money?
 Rose had taken off her sparkly silver flip-flops and was licking them, so my moment of vocational career discernment angst quickly ended as I turned my focus towards getting the flip-flops out of her mouth. 
I suppose there's a metaphor or moral lesson in there somewhere about the work of life being revealed in the present moment.
But, candidly, my overwhelming concern was the amount of germs being transferred from flip-flop to mouth.

It's difficult, you see, because the point of life is neither health insurance nor grocery money. But you have to have a little bit of grocery money, or else you won't have any groceries, which means that you probably won't eat, which means, sadly, that you'll probably stop living.
(This sad state of affairs is called Logic, Facts, and Deductive Reasoning. If you're thinking to yourself right now: wow that kind of sucks; that's because it does. This sad state of affairs is called The Fall, and if you want to learn more about that, Wikipedia "Adam and Eve")

For the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, life is quite simple for the sisters and their band of volunteers. Simple, meaning there isn't much to distract one from the raw business of living.
The goal of each day was two-fold:
1) To keep yourself alive.
2) To love someone other than yourself.

That was all that was asked of us.
Those are two very simple goals in concept, but executing them can be somewhat complex. They're easily achievable goals, in one sense, but will also keep you busy for an entire lifetime.
But, at the end of the day, it's a very simple plan:
wake up.
feed yourself.
go feed someone else.

It has a certain sort of dry romanticism about it.
It's such a simple plan, it couldn't possibly the elusive secret to happiness or the meaning of life that wiser people than a small Albanian nun had been searching for for eons.
But out of the mouths of babes and small Albanian nuns, as they say.

Over the front door of her first orphanage building in Kolkata, there is a famous quote of Mother Teresa's:
Let us make something beautiful for God.
That, perhaps, is the very fundamental point of life.
Whether the little bit of beauty we make is noticed by many or noticed by none, whether it's something grand and glorious, or something mundane, whether it earns you plenty of grocery money or not, the point is to make something beautiful with your life, and most importantly, to make it for someone else.
If you wake up each morning, and by the time you go to bed that night having loved someone other than yourself, then you have reason to rest well.

It's a very simple plan.

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