Things are not always as they seem. This small thought gathered itself around me a few minutes ago as I reflected on my day spent gardening with my father.
From the outside I appear sad as I look at a man I have adored and not felt worthy of my entire life. He was cruel, petty and vindictive yes. But this is not the father I now have. I wrote a letter to him saying this….he is the father I always needed. Even in those bad days and now as his health declines. Thanks to Gilda, our work with Alzheimer’s patients and being present as her husband died – things within shifted. My black heart exploded with love and empathy for my parents…so much so that a great deal of the music I write is inspired by them and Gilda.
I told my daughter when she questioned her purpose on this planet that the only thing that matters is how she shows up. Can she be truthful in the moment? And by this I do not mean taking the moral high ground. Showing up means being real – about what matters and how you feel. Express it but do so with empathy. For yourself first. So the small window another peers through is as untainted as possible, so the light streaming through you lights up the entire sky. The purpose of our lives is to remember that our lives have purpose. Even as we ache, cry and mourn for that which we do not have.
As I write this I know what I will say to my Father in the morning. ‘So, old man, what are we doing today?’ That’s it. I am gonna show up, allow him to order me around while I work with tools whose names I forget. As I make tea, drive around and listen to his stories. I will wait until my Mother arrives and marvels at the food I made ( vegetarian) out of nothing. I will complain about the tea she demands and then wait until she gets on the piano and plays bad gospel music. This is how I chose to show up for them. It is a reminder I need when I leave home. So I can show up for others in my life.
I told my daughter that with every thought, every action and her entire being she brings light and joy to others. It might not appear so from her standpoint. She looks at the world and sees only how messed up it is, climate change and poverty. But when I look at her, the way she views the world…I am in awe. Just her being alone reminds me there is hope for us all. If that isn’t love….then I don’t know what it.
We all have these ideas about how people should behave. What is right and wrong behavior. If we just left judgement behind and for a small second took a deeper look into their hearts we would know this one thing – they are doing all they can, in the moment, to express love. The love they have for themselves and others. And how things appear on the outside is at times a far cry from what is felt and known within.
Be gentle with yourself people. Remember when others look at you or judge you….with each thought and action you offer them a small glimpse of the Divine. So be kind instead. Allow your heart to see beyond the surface.
Whatever you are going through will pass. See every second, every thought as a new beginning. You are loved. All of you. From the second you landed on this rock until the moment you decide to leave. That’s what I think of as I look at my father and everyone I chose to love.
And when I forget….I write music or sit in the sun. The whiskey drinking happens much, much, much, much later…