This idea of tenderness. This idea of forgiveness. This idea of trying to do better now what we already must have done wrong a long time ago. I mean I think it’ll be okay if we can all agree that it’s incredibly hard to be a top notch human being 24 hours a day. But just the fact that we give it a try every now and then is a pretty hopeful sign that there may be something kind of worthwhile in us yet. Just the fact that we might believe in hope is kind of crazily hopeful. Just the fact that we realize we’ve all made mistakes before and probably will again, but we’d like to become better at managing those tendencies to overreact and choose slower, kinder reactions is a step in the right direction. Each step can be a step in the right direction or it can dig the circling ditch deeper and deeper as you go.
What is it that makes the real difference? For want of a better word, I would say the word is love. You’ll know it when you see it in action. You’ll know it when you feel it in your inner most being. You’ll know it when you know you know it. So don’t worry about that part. Worry about helping the love to actualize out of everything you do today.
I was watching a taped segment of the TV show the Austin City Limits the other day and just looking at the audience made me feel something special about the whole human race. That they could get together inside a building and listen to some good music and celebrate the fact of it all together. That they could expel the energy needed to make that happen on both sides of the stage. People danced. People put their hands up in the air. People held each other tight. People exchanged meaningful glances. People sang. It was a terrific feeling to be a part of it even through the TV screen, because I knew what they meant with all those very human actions. I had felt them myself many times in similar situations. And the guy up on the stage wasn’t telling them anything they didn’t already know—he was simply being one of them, one of us. I was so thankful for this person, thankful for his talent, thankful for his generous spirit in sharing that talent with all of us, and thankful for the audience for embracing the moment when it all came together within their own lives.
There was joy in that room. Among perfect strangers. Something bigger than politics, bigger than money, bigger than religion, bigger than ego. Something bigger than greed. People were having fun. People were feeling something besides hate, besides envy, besides anger. They were feeling glad even if they were also feeling sad. They were feeling loved. Loved by the music, loved by the shared community, loved by the poetry of the lyrics, loved by the voices in the air, loved by the instruments in the hands of the musicians. Loved by the unique experience they were having. In a way they were being healed, maybe not wholly, but somewhat, and for real. How cool is that?
I very much like Halloween, but mostly because it gives the littlest kids among us the free reign to express themselves in ways that have no boundaries to their imaginations, and because it’s a good way to send off the last vestiges of summertime and prepare for winter ahead. And who doesn’t like a good candy bar and a good excuse to eat one? Plus now we can think of those cozy family dinners to come, when the only important things will be how to enjoy each other’s company the most, and which desert goes best with a full tummy, if we are lucky. And by that I mean we’ll have developed a sense of true thankfulness for our own good fortune in this life and carry that bountiful gift forward with us into the next day and the next until we have accumulated the sufficient grace we need to try our best once more to overcome our constant petty squabbles and live like we mean it with all our hearts. For ourselves and for all beings.