Thursday, October 15, 2009
Out of the Mouth of Babes Part Deux
Bonus Thursday! I had already posted this morning about what my younger son said to me last night - which was wonderful...after I posted it, I went over to my older son's Facebook page to see what he was up to...and found this amazing note he had written early, early this morning. It is absolutely mind-boggling - and I had to share it with my dear readers....Enjoy.
Sleep Cometh Not
Good evening, world. Yes, it's another one of those nights. What's that? Why, yes, I have tried counting sheep, thank you. It does not help that the dog will not vacate the bed; she seems to believe that it is HER bed and she is only deigning to share it with me.
The sad part is that it is true.
Canine ramblings aside, I have generally found that lying awake after an hour spent trying NOT to lie awake means that it is time for me to vomit yet another one of my half-baked romantic ideas on philosophy forth onto the Internet. I confess, this one is even more half-baked than any of its predecessors, but, dammit, I'm tired and I want to go to bed! So. Here I am.
Recently, I have wondered if it is impossible not to love humanity. Not humanity in general, mind you. Not the great voluminous mass of homo sapiens, that murders and rapes and pillages and battles and pollutes and generally untidies things. Not the species as a whole. We do have rather a lot to answer for.
No, I mean that I believe it is impossible not to love each individual person one meets. It is only recently that I have come to appreciate what a great gift our brethren are - each one his own person, with his own desires, wishes, needs, wants, ideas, dreams, passions, quirks, and yes, qualities. How can one fail to love each of these magnificent creations that every day swirls around us by the hundreds?
It was something I noticed about romantic love that first put me on to it. Have you ever noticed that the girl you're in love with is the most beautiful girl in the world? Perhaps you didn't think so when you first met her, perhaps you were quite convinced some other lady was the most perfect creature that ever lived. But notice as you fall in love with her, her every quality seems magnified, her every flaw minimized, until indeed in your sight she does indeed seem to resemble an angel. It is love that works this wondrous transformation. Love that can change someone from just another stranger into a soulmate, one who you would share every struggle with. Love gentles the beloved's rough spots, makes the bright spots even brighter, and focuses almost solely on the excellent and admirable aspects, almost never on the despicable and mean.
Well, why can not this same principle be applied to those we are NOT in love with? Why not the stranger who randomly trips you as you jostle your way to class? Why not the lunatic driver who is thrice nearly the death of you with her mad lane-changing habits? In essence, why must we wait to know a person before we decide to love them or not?
No reason at all, that I can see. Many times one can spot the magnificent qualities of individuals without even meeting them personally. Are these not worthy of admiration? Many times one is surprised at the depth of character and the nobility of spirit that one finds in even the meanest of individuals. Why should this be so? Far better to simply assume that those qualities are present, and have them prove otherwise, than to so underestimate a human being!
It works on people you vehemently disagree with on the most personal of issues. For example, there is Christopher Hitchins. He is a vicious atheist. He launches the most vituperative attacks on religion imaginable, charging it with every ill that ever afflicted human society. As a budding priest and missionary, I might take exception to such attacks, and yet I love him. Why? Because, as vicious as Hitchins is, underneath it all lies a wondrous love of the Good, an affinity for Truth. Hitchins' attacks are based on the idea that what Religion does is WRONG, and is harming billions of people. How can anyone not love a man so dedicated to doing what is right, to trying to help so many of his fellows, even if it means doing one of the most terrifying things conceivable and striking at the very foundations of their beliefs? This is an admirable thing he does.
It works on people you have never said a word to in your life. Nearly every day, these last few months, as I've gone about my business on campus or about town, I have found it nearly impossible to keep a smile from my face. How can I not be joyful, when I am surrounded by so many people? Arguing, laughing, teasing each other, ignoring each other, each one just trying to make his or her way through the world, just working, just walking, just living, just being - it is one of the most glorious feelings in the world, to be surrounded by this society. The best description that I can give is to think of Christmastime. Now imagine that that feeling of fellowship with all men happens every time you go out in public and you'll be close. It is enough to drive one mad. Glorious.
"Oh, what a piece of work is man. How noble in reason. How infinite in faculty. In form and movement, how express and admirable. In action, how like an angel. In apprehension, how like a god. The beauty of the world, the paragon of animals..."
How can one not love humanity? Even if they do not merit it, the world it creates for one to live in is nevertheless so joyful, so closely approaching what I imagine to be the sum total of human happiness on this earth that I'll live there anyways. So what if they do not merit the love I give them? That is for critics and cynics to decide. Besides, if we reserve love only for those who truly deserve it, well, depending on how we define who deserves it we shall either end up loving everyone or no one at all. Which world would you rather live in?
Hellfire and damnation. I fear that I'm becoming an idealist...
Oh, son...I love you.