One of Tim Minchin’s Nine Life Lessons that ignites my imagination, is define yourself by what you love. So I set to it and wrote a list of what and whom I love. And everyday I move gently but steadfastly towards those things by deliberately engaging with them.
But my old friend cynicism can take hold if I leave the gate open, even a crack. Easy to get stuck in looking for what isn’t working. ‘It’s all very well,’ I hear my cynical self say, ‘we can’t just go around doing what we like.’ Can’t argue with that. But let’s start with a simple question. What gives real pleasure? Can it be done for an hour a day?
A friend’s mother is rapidly falling towards Alzheimer’s. The difficulties of this journey affect my friend and everyone in her family. She said her mother carefully explained to her that the people on the television see her; that they follow her around the room with their eyes, and she asks ‘Can they see me?”
The poignancy is deep and touches the centre of the heart. The metaphor is dynamic.
Does anyone really see anyone? Or have we ceased to see because we are dealing with other things so single-mindedly? Not seeing is like running away from the things I love.
For me the metaphor asks; do any of us see each other …really? Or do we project our own brand of reality onto everyone we talk with? Too full of our own thoughts and agendas; checking text messages as we talk to the ones we love, talking over our shoulder as we run out the door. Too busy to really hear and see the other with our hearts, eyes, voice, bodies and minds.
Merging these two insights I reckon life may be simpler than it appears. When one of my grandsons enters the room, I stop what I am doing and totally engage in his world. I am in his moment. Grandmother’s privilege? Yes. But isn’t this what love really looks like?