The Best of All Possible Worlds...
I've just hung up from a 3-hour phone call with a former student, and it was one of the most enlightening three hours I've spent in a long time. We all have so much to learn from each other and he provided me with such valuable insight about the world from where he stands; a world that looks very different from the one in which I live, where just about everyone is color-blind. He's quite a remarkable young man and will no doubt change the world in his own way, just like all of my students will, in theirs. The things he shared with me will no doubt help me to understand what life is like for my biracial son, when he's living in his own world and not the one we inhabit together, where everything is so racially friendly and benign.
I had little sleeping Rachel snuggled next to me with her head on my chest, positioned so that I could kiss her little forehead with ease, throughout the duration of my conversation with the aforementioned student. This is such bliss for me. I will hold on to every shread of her babyhood (and I can still find it in her, despite the fact that she will be nine in August), until the last thread of it turns to dust between my fingers. There is so much love in this sweet, judgement-free embrace. I hope the world never teaches her that it's not "cool" to love your mother as much as she loves you.
Tonight I had the opportunity to once again be awed by my 16 year old son and his keen ability to articulate newfound insights into himself and his behavior. I am constantly awed by him and just can't help breaking into a smile during some of his most serious revelations, just because of the amazing experience of seeing the "becoming" of this young before my very eyes. (I tell him this, too, so he doesn't think I'm being irreverent.)
I even had a lovely hour-long conversation with my ex, Alex's father. We began as friends and will always be friends who love and care about each other, despite the path our marriage took. We have learned a lot from each other as well, particularly unconditional love.
Human beings are the most valuable things we have in this experience called life. Each and every one of us comes bearing many gifts. Some of these gifts may be cleverly disguised as painful lessons, but they are never delivered without purpose. Our greatest offerings come in the two things we have to give to each other in limitless supply: love and knowledge. What else can you give without restriction and still have all you had when you began, and more? Like all currency, these things have no value when they're withheld. They must flow. And they are the only things worth taking with you from any experience. Leave the rest behind.
I feel a heightened awareness and a tremendous sense of gratitude from being on the receiving end of these tonight, from friends, family, former and current students, and even from strangers, (thanks to Muse Urbaine and her gift, which was actually, and ultimately a gift from Richard, author of two of my favorite blogs.)
The Fest is over and I'm still quite tired. It may take me a week to recover. But, what a happy and love-filled vibe it is that fills me at this moment. (No kidding, huh?)
Happy Birthday, John. I don't know if you ever stop by here, but the good wishes are not contingent upon that, or anything else.