GREETINGS AND SALUTATIONS
Thank you for taking the time to stop by, you see I had hoped that you might and I have been sitting here waiting. Why you ask? Well, now I am not sure I have that answer, you see I move through life one moment to the next. I watch and wait many times in a week. I guess it is more the desire to learn about people that keeps me still and patient. Please don’t take that as a boast, oh I would never dream of such a pretentious act. I am no less flawed than anyone else. That is what I have been here puzzling over. I am hoping maybe, just maybe, that between us we might come to an answer.
How Do You Look At Others?
I never thought much about those words until lately. Some say that our world is fine and there is nothing wrong. I am telling you that I do not believe that anymore than I believe a used car salesman or anyone else that would tell me something that most anyone can see. I wonder though, how do you look at other people? I can’t speak for anyone, so I only can for myself.
I know that in the past I have held different views of people through the various parts of life. In my childhood I looked at adults as the people who I better not misbehave in front of. I looked at the kids I played with as my friends. Those were good times. I had wondered why until it hit me in the face that it was only because the labels that we placed on others then, well, they were simple and had no ill will behind them.
As I was helping to raise my daughter, I remember that the one thing I never wanted for her was to look at people as anything other than that. Because I suppose for me it really has never been about the color of someone’s skin, or age, or their beliefs. I have always seen people as they are and the way they act. Sometimes it is hard to grasp the concept of that and I am guilty on more than one occasion of looking quite naive for it. Until I began thinking about it I never realized that some people may even have thought that a weakness, rather than the strength it truly is.
Move Past The Surface and See The Person
I say that being able to see who the person is behind the surface is one of a person’s greatest strengths. There are a couple reasons that I think this to be a fundamental truth, but for now I will touch on only a few. I realized about ten years back the reason it is a strength and that is not really a good thing as it means that 30 years passed before it sunk in.
When you see the person rather than their surface you can tell what their real intentions are. I have had the pleasure of knowing many great people, but I also have known many people who were of a more nefarious nature. (think Boris and Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle). I have always felt more at ease when I am around people who share similar interests, but I am also at ease in groups where I sometimes have been the only one that thinks as I do. It’s not because I can speak well, or look like James Bond (I Wish), no rather I just have always tried to see the good in people and in doing it have always overlooked any flaws in search of a person’s inner beauty. In truth, it never dawned on me that the “feeling” you get about someone is because your mind deep down knows what we fail to grasp. It’s hard to hide something when the person you are talking to isn’t focusing on your religion, politics, or skin.
The other reason I say that it’s a strength is when you are not focusing on the things that really don’t matter much, you open yourself up to listen to the other person.
I remember several years ago I had volunteered to teach a beginners computer course at a center that helped the homeless. Now, I am not a stranger to the streets, trust me my first marriage was a tribute to that fact. Still, I went in and when I did I was more judgmental than I am normally. I can’t even say why other than to say that now I regret it, but it was a learning experience. My first class I realized what all the substitute teachers we had ever given a hard time to in school felt. Not only was I not prepared, even though computers are like my right hand, I missed out on the opportunity to make a good first impression. Even worse I had missed the opportunity to rise up and be a better me. That lesson is one that I will never forget for the rest of my day.
We lose sight of our values when we can’t see who other people are. We do it so quickly that I am not sure about you, but I know I have lost my path many times on the journey we call life. It takes away, at least for me, the ability to be a good person. It robs me of the lessons that my parents, grandparents, and all the other people who have stood by me have given. In the end it makes me much less than someone who was raised into intolerance because for me, it takes a part of my identity away.
How The World Sees Me
Oh my that is a very loaded question indeed, lol. To some I am a friend to others I am nothing more than the guy you call when something breaks, and yet still to others I am something that words can’t begin to either explain or describe. I tell people I am a Grumpy Old Man, that is true too, as much so as I am a thinker, a builder, a teacher, a brother, a son, and most importantly though I am me.
Why’s that important? Simply put because so long as I am just me, I am being true to myself, as well as those around me. Have you ever had to wonder in the dead of the night what someone thought about you. It may have been something you said, or even something as simple as a body gesture that you hadn’t meant but was seen anyway? I am sure I have. In my twenties before I left my hometown those are things I thought about all the time. I still do at times now, but mostly I wonder if my soup is dribbling onto my shirt. :) Those are things that everyone thinks about at one point or another in life. We would be heartless otherwise.
What’s the Answer
There is no simple answer or solution. No wonder drug or super pill that will make it alright. It is just another step along the road of life. The only way that I became happy with the man that stares back at me from the mirror was to accept the fact that even though I would like to, I can not please everyone all the time. The best I can do is to listen to people, respect them, and if I disagree that is ok too. It would only be a bad thing if I were rude when it happened.
At this point in life we are at the precipice of a crisis. I agree with the people that say we are still moving forward, but I can also see that we are doing so blindfolded and stumbling over every tiny rock in the road along the way. There is a rule here in my house. I am not sure who came up with it, but I guess whoever did was pretty keen, we don’t argue, we listen. In fact I have put it up in every place I have ever operated as a reminder that there will always be others who have different ideas and opinions than mine own.
That is we are now. We don’t look at people, we look past them. We don’t listen to them, we tune them out. We, yes I did include me, because only a fool would think that they are perfect, just don’t see most the time. Today it is because this guy is doing something that we don’t agree with and tomorrow it will be someone else. We don’t like this person because he goes to the church down the block, and we think ours is the one that matters most. Aunt B gets mad at Sally because she thinks she stole her recipe for pumpkin pie, while Sally is sitting there laughing because she picked the one she has at Walmart. See how silly that sounds if YOU say it lol.
First, I want to thank you if you came along this far with me. I know that the ride is not always smooth and sometimes I talk way too much, but thank you all the same. Since we made it together this has been enjoyable and I will wrap it up. I think that we are better, actually I know it. There have been great men women all throughout history that have talked about the very subject of this. For me the choice is easy. When I go out, when I meet people, when I am anywhere really, I look at the person first. I am never going to care what they look like, because god knows what I must look like to them. Best I figure it is either a mix of Frankenstein and a biker, or A mix of Doc Brown from Back to the future with a splash of living dead. Really does matter? Not really, no more than what church they attend, who they voted for, or any other factor that comes along in a day. If I can sell someone anything at all it would be this, people are just that, people. We all bleed red in the end, unless your that guy up there on the balcony because I swear he is from Mars. Seriously though, lighten up sometimes, see the real person and not the things around them. Life is a beautiful thing and we are never promised tomorrow so why take the chance that the last thing someone sees is a version that is not worthy of you. You are a beautiful person, we all are. If we lose sight of that we are no better than the person we lost sight of the path because. I promise if you look at person for who they are, you will be surprised to learn that most times they aren’t that much different than you. We all need people who will stand with us rather than against. So there is my two cents and I am truly sorry if I have made anyone comatose after all the rambling. In that I will wish everyone who is still here well, and hope each and everyone of you has a great day.