"It was a good thing that she got herself into this other school. It showed her that there were other worlds beside the world she had been born into and that these other words were not unattainable." --A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
Sometimes, you can get so lost inside yourself, so stuck in your own head, you forget to watch the world around you. I walk by so many people and places each day, and while I look at everything, I don't actually see it. Even when I see it, I don't let it move me.
But there are some moments that cut through your thick veil of lonely self-absorption, and slice through the curtains you've drawn around yourself with their piercing loveliness and beauty.
As I looked out from my small perch in the corner of the coffee shop, I feel like the windows were not just looking out onto the avenue, but on to the entire world.
As I read my book, I'm suddenly in awe that I can read.
That there are, on this printed page, small little spaces and letters that, strung together, create a thought that someone had many years ago. And here I am, reading it now in this cozy little room that smells like roasting coffee beans and fondue pots.
With a burst of energy, I wish that every single person could read these words. That everyone could just understand why their education is so important. Not to check off boxes, or just to jump through hoops to get ahead in life, but so that they might become more educated. So that they can understand these words on the page, so that the words on the page can reach them, mold them, touch them. And so that they themselves can write their own words; so that their thoughts can be preserved in a work of art or knowledge that will be able to preserve, for the humans who will follow after them, a bit of the beauty of their own life.
There is a particular dignity in coming home from a long day of work, and knowing that you worked hard.
After eleven hours of working: of using the energy inside of you to add to the goodness of the world, you feel a peaceful sense of worth.
We all have pent up inside of us this creative energy that demands that we forge something beautiful in the world; either in ourselves or outside of us.
I thought of the sort of creative energy that it takes for a woman to birth a child inside of her; the sheer will-power it takes to rear an infant into her full humanity. I was moved and awed by this creative energy that has led humans to do all sorts of specacular things. That there is this sense of co-operation within humans: we have been given such a glorious world, and it is, like a child, already fully alive and distinct from ourselves, but needing our creative input.
A baby needs to hear words from us, in order to learn how to speak, or even think,
A child needs to watch his family and friends to learn how to walk, how to move, how to act. Without his family, the child cannot fully become what he is intended to be.
The sort of desperate necessity that the world has for the beauty each one of us has to give overwhelmed me in that moment. In that moment of silence, in the sweet, bustling, buzzing unrest of the city avenue outside my window, I wished that each person walking by knew that the world was longing for them. Not just the ordinary, everyday version of themselves. But the part of themselves that sparkles in their eyes when they tell you about a project that they are passionate about, or someone they love, or when they listen hungrily to your voice speaking the truth, or when you listen to their story.
No wonder we are so desperate for love. We know that we are needed, we often just have a hard time seeing it.