I was asked, recently, what it is that keeps me going. Why do I do what I do? Why do I write? Take pictures? Why do I bother doing anything at all, when all around things are bad and gloomy and difficult and altogether unpleasant and lacking in love? Well, I said, it’s precisely that. Things lack in love, and that lack of love is what motivates me.
A sunny day. That’s what people need, if you ask me.
I don’t mean to say that we need blue skies and bright sunshine and birds all around for life to get better. I mean, all that would be very nice to see, that’s for sure, but it’s not about that. It’s about appreciation. It’s about the ability to recognize a sunny day when a sunny day comes, or to appreciate a rainy day when a rainy day comes. The ability to see something good in the gloom, something beautiful in the ugly, great in the mundane, or just to appreciate the mundane in all its mundanity, to allow ourselves to be bored because even in the bored, life is beautiful.
Now, how’s any of that supposed to make things better, you ask. I mean, surely three meals a day and the capacities of not living beneath the poverty line are better than smiling at sunshine, and I’d agree with you entirely. The question is, though — how do we get there? How do we get to a world where things are better, things are fair for everyone? To me, it’s through love. To me, it’s through appreciation.
It’s through love, because the soul that loves is the soul that wants to protect. The soul that loves isn’t fearful, isn’t scared, doesn’t hide behind walls, does’t see the need to exclude and to protect itself with money and money and money and money. The soul that loves steps out on a sunny day, or looks out the window on a rainy day, and says, wow, this is great. This is so great, I really love this, says that loving soul. I wonder why it’s so great, it says, I want to know more. I want to protect it. And so the soul that loves steps out and tries to know more. It meets the world with curiosity. It sees injustice, unloving acts, destructive acts, and it says, no, no, I will have none of this. That soul chooses love over meanness, love over cruelty, love over personal gain, sees the people around it and wishes that they, too, get to look up at the sky on a sunny day, or on a rainy day, and to say that it is great. I feel that, if we were all to live that way, to carry love and curiosity as the precedent that pushes us through our days, then life will be a little better, a little fairer, a little kinder and a little more loving than what it is right now.
There’s this Calvin & Hobbes strip I read once. Calvin tells Hobbes, the world would probably be different if people sat outside and looked up at the sky. I agree. To see that there is beauty in the world beyond the false securities, the cruelties and unnecessary noise that we hide behind and fill our world with, that love is all we need, love and gentle curiosity. That’s what I wish for the world, and that’s what motivates me.
July 8, 2018