Love.

30 06 2017

ZDUtMWI1Y

If kindness beholds itself to random acts completed in its honor then love is the scraping and molding of deliberation – no randomness here.

Planning.

Struggling.

Acting.

Today, I witnessed a scene that I have seen numerous time as it occurs on my street – a gentleman walking to a special transport for the county to help a loved one walk down the steps of the bus.

For him, this is probably a daily occurrence but he ..is …there – every day – the same time.

Who is the woman walking down – clearly older but with the smile of a 10 year old – innocent, kind, warm and slightly greying hair in a bob and held back by two barrettes? Is she his daughter? A relative? A friend?

Love is deliberate.

Being there.

Holding on to the best of another person despite what your hopes might have been.

Doing the hard work.

Being ok with how things are and not how things “should” be.

This takes thought, fortitude and a commitment to another person based on where they are and not where you need them to be to maintain certain optics for your own sake.

Love is cruel and ugly and requires things of us we may never have imagined and damn if that isn’t beautiful.

Kindness is easy.

Maybe it costs $2.35 on the Turnpike to pay for the car behind me or someone’s coffee at Starbucks. That’s nothing.

But love is grueling …and so necessary.

Because there is no living without those moments. The ones that have you waiting for the silence to befall so you can talk yourself into another day with the hopes it gets easier.

And it will.

Love is not Hugh Grant in “Love Actually”.

Actually, that was romance and some pretty good lighting.

Love is snot and sweat and changing diapers – and not always on a baby – and being there to help her down the stairs of the bus though your dream at one time was to play with the grandkids she gave you.

That’s love, but you better be ready.

Until next time,

Marc





Denny’s, LinkedIn and Lost Moments

30 09 2016

linkedin-message

I received a LinkedIn message a while ago that simply said “how are you?” Thinking this was just someone I had met at a conference who might be looking for a job, business, etc., I chose to ignore it. (Nice, I know.)

Then, a couple of days ago, I happened to see that this same person wrote another message. It went like this:

“I have to let you know, a lot of my success and my future adventures I owe in (part) thanks to you. When we all ate dinner at Denny’s you, Kim and Eric…I finally felt like I belonged for the first time in my miserable life, and I spilled my water and apologized profusely. Again later as we were all friends (you were all older than me) you sang “All the leaves are brown, the sky is grey” outside the libray (sic) with Kim and you took her teddy bear and pretended to Die againt (sic) the brick wall in such comedic fashion. These moments really became one of the many cornerstones in my life, about friendship and such enjoyment !! I just wanted to let you know you had an impact on my life, since highschool had been horrible to me. Then, my future exploded 🙂 thanks !!”

I thought this was a fantastic message (and though he went on to be an Emmy nominated computer animator and this seemed like an interesting contact to have), he had clearly thought I was someone else. Although Denny’s made me think of college (and many post drunken escapade patty melt excursions) plus the fact that I am a huge fan of the Mamas and Papas, I had convinced myself that he had the wrong person. These facts were merely coincidences. Feeling bad that this person reached out to me with such a heartfelt message that was misdirected, I felt compelled to email him back to let him know both that he had a case of mistaken identity and to not feel as if he were being ignored:

“Hi (name withheld)- that is a great email – I only wish I were with you, Kim and Eric but I don’t think it was me! In any event, I am glad that you have a memory to hold onto that helped to transform you to a better place. Continued success, Marc”

A few hours later, he replied and guess what? It was me!

I actually lived with both Kim and Eric at one point in college and it still didn’t connect with me! I have long lost contact with both of them, but still, how did I neglect to connect all these dots – me who will spend hours on google investigating the stupidest of things yet, in this case, though every single clue pointed in my direction, I didn’t give it a second thought that he had the wrong guy? (That sentence was way too long but I’m too lazy to address it right now.)

It actually made my day to know that something I couldn’t even remember from more than 2 decades ago stuck with someone still. Isn’t this the case more than we actually realize?

When we review our lives, there are moments that provide meaning to us in ways only we could understand in the broader context of our own personal experience. I know that is the case for me. Rarely are they the vacations or “big” events. More often, they are the small moments that probably only stick in our heads – sitting in the back of the orange, Chevy Impala asking your mom to ask your dad to have “the talk”, running through the field to your grandpa to tell him you’re learning trumpet, or sliding down the sloped doors in the backyard that lead to the basement… and the dentist after cracking your tooth.

These moments have no postcard images and even in today’s smart phone obsessed world, would probably not even have an Instagram pic to upload. These are the moments that remain imprinted solely in those internal cranial crevices that are only reachable by those who know the secret pathway to get there – the one that no one else knows about. When they’re shared with others who long forgot about them, they could be a gift.

You matter. You never know when some small innocuous moment could have a great meaning to someone that might look you up on a social media site decades later. Now only if I could get a message from that girl from Junior year who dressed like Suzanne Vega and introduced me to Robyn Hitchcock.

Until next time,

Marc





From Denzel to Twain

12 01 2015

The-two-most-important-days-in-your-life-are-the-day-you-are-born-and-the-day-you-find-out-why

I would like to say that this quote has stayed with me based on my long history of familiarity with the literary greats and shaped by years of studying philosophy, but the truth is that I saw it during the opening scene for the Denzel Washington flick “The Equalizer” this weekend with my son. For those who may be familiar with my (lack of) reading habits as a youth, unless it was in Cliff Notes, my wisdoms generally came from TV or movies.

I love this quote. As an oft-described “over-analyzer/over-thinker”, the question of what the whole reason I’m here is something I have and will always struggle with. I am still waiting for the day i find out why.

I remember taking a very tough quantitative evolution class in college for a biology elective. The entire class was a mathematical look into understanding survival of species and making predictions based on how one outcome could affect an entire ecosystem.

During one exam, there was a problem where we were given the evolutionary tree and biological impact of a koala and a cockroach. Based on the facts, we had to predict the outcomes of choosing the extinction of one over the other. I am not sure how many cockroach lovers there are out there, but suffice it to say that if you were going to make the choice that had the most significant impact on other species and the entire ecosystem, the koala was going to have to bite it. Say goodbye to one of the cutest Australian exports since Elle Macpherson.

The cockroach has a clear purpose – believe it or not – just like fava beans, Adam Sandler movies and Cher. But what is my real purpose? As someone who believes in science, I am not sure that there really was one specific for me, as opposed to the species. And if that’s the case, well, it really could have been anyone.

I do look at my kids and feel in some way that regardless of the current situation we all find ourselves in, their talents, humor and brains were meant to make a difference on this planet somehow and perhaps, that was my purpose – to help in their creation. But truthfully, what parent wouldn’t feel that way? And they’re still young. After the umpteenth time of my son clogging the toilet, I can be easily persuaded otherwise.

Personally, I do like to think that paying attention to our surroundings daily will eventually help each of us stumble upon why we are here. It may not be one reason. It may be a 1,000 little reasons. You’ve heard the story about some stranger who just happened to smile at a passerby and that one act of kindness changed her whole disposition of the day. Maybe that one act caused that person to do something or act in a way that she otherwise wouldn’t have and started a chain reaction of other smaller events. I like to believe in that and I think it’s real.

This, to me, is what the “Random Acts of Kindness” movement is really about. It is too much pressure, (for me, anyway), to think about my purpose and whether it is random or not. I can, however, believe in the fact that through the act of trying to figure it out positively, it may help lead to the answer of why we are here. If it’s not to help, connect and evolve, than what is it all for?

If I could be a former CIA operative like Denzel Washington’s The Equalizer, it would be so much simpler. But I’m just another over thinker with a bad shot.

Until next time,

Marc








%d bloggers like this: