During this past weekend, I sat down to collect a few thoughts that had been running through my mind. With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror, I realized it wasn’t too late to sit and sift through the gratitude I’ve discovered for life. I have a lot to be thankful for; a wonderful life, career, family, community, and peace of mind.
While I was laying on the patio, I looked up to see the stars stretching across the Lake Merritt sky. It’s a masterpiece every morning and night. Looking at Orion’s belt, I gazed at the stars and felt a deep connection with my late Opa. There was peace in knowing that he probably looked up at the same night sky and asked the same questions as I was about the universe.
Recalling a lot of the adventures Opa had with his own life, as well as the misfortunes, I realized how incredibly lucky I am to be alive. All of us are a miracle. However, the odds seemed to stack up against Opa to be alive; being shot down (twice) in the war, left for dead (malaria) in a jungle, only to be revived by a tribal witch doctor, and coming face to face with deadly predators (both man and animal) that wanted to take his life.
These stories are just a few of many. Looking back to look forward, I found a new understanding in my heart that saw the music of life, rather than just the bars.
There are a lot of questions I have about life for the universe, god, however you’d like to name it. There’s a constant sense of wondering whether or not I’m ‘doing right’ by the world, those around me, and myself. Similar to the way a father will hold a kicking child; absorbing the blows with love, I think our minds were meant to be stretched from the outside, as well as pushed from within.
I have yet to meet god. You know, the god. However, I’ve seen many incredible acts of love and kindness in the world that seem to deliver the same sort of fruit that you hope the ‘god tree’ will be. In other lifetimes, I’ve also been poisoned by those who claim to be doing the will of god.
The more I see life, the more I think if god could walk the earth, they wouldn’t take up collection plates for churches, lobby against marriage equality, or point damning fingers to hell. I think the overall doctrine could be reduced to “Don’t be an asshole” – which is exactly what “do unto others” implies, yet is often lost in translation.
By choosing to be love to others, you’re creating a space that allows others to step away from fear, which ultimately brings them closer to being themselves. The world needs more authentic people who aren’t afraid to be themselves, while also being patient enough to help others also discover and be true to their nature.
Perhaps I’ll never meet god, which is something I think Opa also pondered. We both seem to question the mainstream ideas of a bearded man in the sky. Yet, I have seen a magnificent outline in the universe that has touched my soul, heart, and mind. Instead of claiming to point to a name, denomination, or spiritual practice, I see this expression of life unfold when people free themselves to be true to their nature, as well as offering a hand of love to all others, without judgement.