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I got up this morning and got all the kids ready for the 3rd to last day of school. (yay!) On the way home from running to the elementary school to drop off a forgotten lunch – my 4th car trip of the day at only 9:15 – the two little ones that stay home wanted to go to the park. Well … actually, they saw all the kids playing at recess and wanted to go play, but I had to tell them that we’re not allowed to play at the school during school hours. They were bummed. And by “bummed” I mean the 2 year old was crying “toys! TOYS!” and the 4 year old was telling me all the reasons she should stay to play. So I dragged them into the van, wrestled them into their car seats, buckled them up, and decided, after seeing their sad expressions and hearing their pleas, to drive to the park so they could play.
Let me just say I hadn’t had breakfast, I was wearing a tank top with no sweatshirt because I hadn’t planned on being outside (it’s chilly today!), I had no socks on with my shoes that I quickly slipped on, and the kids had dirty faces from eating their breakfast.
Never mind all that! We drove to the park. And then we played and walked and slid and swung and climbed and took pictures and had a fun time.
When it was time to go the 4 year old put her hands on and in one of those cigarette disposal things and the 2 year old needed a new diaper and they had both gotten wet from sliding on the rained on slides … and then the 4 year old sobbed all the way back to the van because I “yelled at her” for getting her hands dirty and she said to me “I’m not going to listen to you anymore” and tried to walk away from me into the parking lot …
Needless to say, it was a moment in time, that hour at the park, where we experienced a range of human emotion! I think we covered it all!
Life is a yin and yang. There’s good-bad, fun-work, light-dark, laughing-crying, sadness-joy, anger-love … it is ALL part of life. You can’t have only the good, fun, light, laughing, joy and love all of the time. The other exists. It’s part of the human experience. And it serves to help us appreciate the joy and love and look forward to the laughing and the fun.
I learn a lot in the hard times. Work strengthens me. Darkness, sadness, anger, crying … they all help me feel compassion and empathy and unity with all people.
Do I hope that one day the world will know peace and joy, and love will be THE way? Yes. I dream about that. I hope for that. I have faith in that. And I rejoice that that will be the way in an “evolved” “future.”
But, I do recognize that today, we are this. There is sadness in the world. There is anger and work and crying and bad things that happen – there’s terrible loss and fear and frustration. It exists. And because it does, I can see that it is, it is part of life now, and then use my energy to bring healing when I’m able. Relieve suffering when I see it. Lift up the burdened when they come across my view. Mourn with those that mourn. Love those that call for love.
As my little crying 4 year old hung her hands down by her side and sobbed as we walked to the car, even though I could see that she was perceiving the situation in a limited way, I still felt her pain. And so I grabbed her hand and hugged her close to me and told her that I was sorry and that I loved her.
Did I yell at her? No, I very pointedly told her NOT to touch the cigarette garbage and I was right to do that. But I CAN see how she would have perceived that as getting “yelled” at … I had a choice in that moment though, as we were walking back from the play area. I could have justified my actions and said to myself “she needs to learn” or “she can’t touch garbage” or “I don’t feel sorry for her, she’s just being a stubborn 4 year old.” Or, in that moment I could recognize that she didn’t need sternness or adult justification, she needed kindness and love and a hug.
So I chose to take a deep breath and see her pain as a call for love and fill her need.
Every moment we have a choice to drop everything and fill the needs of those around us. Sometimes we aren’t able to do that, and that’s ok. Those times though that we are? We should do it. We should literally drop what we have in mind, like eating breakfast and writing a blog post, and drive to the park because the kids want and need it. We can look at the world around us and say to ourselves, “is there a need I am able to fill?” and then fill the need when we’re able. Doing this brings a joy to life that is unmatched and not attained in any other way.
As we drove back from the park the kids said they were hot and so I rolled the windows down just a little to cool them off. The 4 year said, “roll them down all the way!” and laughed and smiled her magic smile and I thought to myself, “I live so I can bring out that smile in her … if I can make her smile like that, I’m going to do it.” and then I proceeded to roll all the windows all the way down and listen to those 2 kids laughing their heads off as the wind whipped around the van and created a whirlwind of joy.
It was a treat to be in that moment and it made my day.
Life is full of the potential for these moments. All we need to do is look for them and then drop everything and chase the joy, bring the smiles, fill the moments with laughter. I promise you as you do this you will have lightness that is indescribable and life will be brilliant. In the brilliance the JOY within you expands and you grow.
Growing in this way brings a love for life and makes the human experience a joyful adventure! Chase the joy!