Friday, May 16, 2014

Human


Tonight, after chicken tikka masala, after la clase de espanol, after a piercing headache and warnings of record low temps, far after all the kids should've been sound asleep, Calvin called me upstairs.

He was so tired.
I was so tired.

But his heart was heavy and as we whispered in the room he shares with his brother and his sister, I could feel the weight of his 9-year old pain. We swam in the tension while the ceiling fan whirred. These moments always feel big with him, because his heart understands things well past the borders of his age. These struggles catch him off guard, before he's really ready to grasp them. Before he should have to.

He holds the ends of friendship, responsibility, loyalty and simple kindness in his hands and tries his best to tie them into one clean bow.

His instincts say to run toward justice even if it means he'll pay a debt that isn't his. He cannot understand why others don't think and feel the way he does.

"But why is the world like this? I just wish it would be different."

This one is my part-time worrier. He likes stability and consistency. I know he's worried about the school year coming to an end. 3rd grade was so good to him.

He borrows trouble between yawns and his words slow.
I whisper back all the same things you've whispered to your children.

I tell him the truth again - that all I want is for him to love the people around him well, and try his best to be a good learner.

Focus on those two things, and nothing else matters.

Nothing.

~

My latest obsession, one of my favorite finds in all of history, is Humans of New York.
On Instagram, it's humansofny, which I read as "human sofny". Always.

Their posts are my hands-down favorites. The author so brilliantly captures each individual. I'm amazed by his ability to distill each human down to one line that explains exactly what I wanted to know, even if I didn't realize it at first glance. I'm amazed by the way he inspires them to spill their guts. I applaud his compassion that filters through each pixel and line. Every time I think, This is the Kingdom of Heaven. This is it, right here.

I always walk away with the essence of a real person seared into my heart.

Often, they make me smile.

Today, this post wrecked me.
I can't seem to shrug it off. I keep carrying it around, and it's painful.

Now the day is almost done, and I shouldn't be surprised by the way these threads make twine.

I wish we could all offer the benefit of the doubt to the rest of the world. I wish we could lay down our faulty ideas about who matters more or what matters most. I wish we could find the best in every single human.

I wish I could go back in time and fix that 10-year-old's birthday.
It truly seems like it would have changed the trajectory of his life.
I wish I could believe it's not too late for him.

I wish we could all stop looking to the horizon for beauty and find it near us, all around us, profoundly close to us in the hearts and faces we meet each day.

I wish my heart would never stop softening, never tire of breaking, never quit believing for one second that every human matters.

All we need is more love.

The good news? We grow it the same way we grow peas and peppers.
We grow it by planting it.

There's enough to go around, but it has to start with us.

"Beauty" sweatshirt by Sevenly. This week's charity is To Write Love On Her Arms, an organization dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery. With the purchase of any shirt this week, $7 is donated to TWLOHA.
  

12 comments:

  1. Breaks my heart (the 10th birthday party). Sheesh. One sentence and I'm crying.

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  2. : ). What a great analogy. The same way we grow peas and carrots, eh? I'm off to plant some seeds right now.

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  3. human sofny. the beautiful art of humanity. sounds like calvin has that art inside, too.
    thanks for sharing the insta link. it is just what i needed today.
    xo

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  4. I too have a great love for Humans of NY. I knew which post you were talking about without having to click the link. Its haunted me all week...all week. It makes my mama heart weep. It makes my human break.

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  5. I think I'll go check out human sofny!!! lol That poor guy, I do believe that one birthday party could have made a difference if even just one came to celebrate him :( sad. I love the peas and peppers <3 Such a happy thought!!!! I love planting seeds of love!!!!!

    Sweet, sweet Calvin, I think we all ask that same question "But why is the world different?" What a sweetheart he is <3

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  6. Read that post- made me remember the b-day party that I MADE my then 9 year old son go to because I had that awful feeling that if he didn't- no one else would be there, and I was right. Of course my son was mortified that he would be forever linked with this "unwanted" child, but I just could not bear the thought- and his mother was heartbroken and in tears.Why? I'm with Calvin...why...

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  7. Oh wow, I love that Humans of New York! Thanks for sharing now I'm following them too! Powerful stuff.

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  8. Oh, man. My husband (44) still talks about his 5th birthday party...and the fact that no one came. His mum scheduled it during a school holiday. People went out of town. He knows the logical explanations. But it still changed him. When we host a party or he initiates a gathering, he still says to me--every time--"I'm having a 5th birthday party moment."

    I love Calvin's heart and how he seems to already know that these things matter. How we treat each other--even as kids--makes a difference. A big difference. You're planting excellent seeds in fertile soil there!

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  9. There is so much here.....

    So much to say, yet I'm left speechless. I guess it's the same reason why I've wanted to sit with those who eat alone at restaurants, or why I picked out $5 sunglasses with an elderly lady in the town, whom I've never me. She seemed like she needed someone to care, if only for a moment. (And I love the sunglasses she picked for me!).

    So we invite our neighboring rancher over for any meal, since going home to an empty house can be daunting. And we send the remnants of the month's paycheck to a little boy who wants to buy legos for the cancer ward, knowing that there is zilch in the savings.....

    We now say God is the savings.

    God is in this farm, in this state that is a few rainless days shy of the dust bowl.

    God is in the full cupboards.

    God is in the healing hearts.

    God is in the love that is growing ten-fold.

    God is here....and He there at every birthday.

    He always shows up, no invitation needed.

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  10. Thanks for sharing about your special conversation with Calvin. Their hearts are so fragile and innocent. I love hearing things from their perspective! Thanks, too, for introducing me to humansofny. What a fantastic idea to tell the stories of these unique, beautiful people! It reminds us of just how "human" and vulnerable we all are.

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