9 years ago when my youngest graduated from kindergarten (and no, I can’t believe it was that long ago, and yes, with my 2 eldest children graduating from college this week, I am suddenly feeling extremely verklempt, but that’s a post of its own…) the theme of the program was the Robert Fulghum book All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten . When the book first came out in 1990, I was a newlywed and didn’t have my kids yet, but in spite of that, its essence hit home with me and I thought it a brilliant concept. Especially the last line of the excerpted book by Mr. Fulghum, which advises: “And it is still true, no matter how old you are-when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.” Mr. Fulghum, I wholeheartedly agree with you.
Why is that so hard? Why do we sweat the small stuff, bicker over our differences and become resentful toward even those we are closest to? Why do we let go of the ability to find joy in the tiniest delights in life and harden ourselves to the pain of others? Is it just that as we age we’ve been hurt so many times by so very much that we go into “self-protection” mode to avoid further bruising of our egos? Do our spirits become so badly damaged that we are no longer able to believe, as came easily to us at 5, that people are basically doing the best they have to work with and if we do so as well and accept one another for what we each have to offer freely, there’s room for all of us to live peacefully? Could be. I can only speak for myself and I will say that there have been times I worry that I’m becoming, as Mary Kay Place’s character so succinctly puts it in The Big Chill : “a little frosty myself.” That said, given my optimistic tendencies, in my heart of hearts I don’t believe that it is a given that at the very core of our beings we must age in the same manner that the rest of our outer shell does. After all, that’s just our physical body- the outer temple that our inner energy resides in while on this earth. It has its limits, including wearing down through the passage of time, which we understand and (pretty much) accept. But our spirits are timeless, fueled by the energy that flows within us, so why must our inner spirit accept “being old” and insist on behaving in a manner that exemplifies it? Why must we build fear-based walls of self-protection that serve only to close our minds and our hearts, rendering us incapable of seeing one another as brothers and sisters on our journey? In fact, why can’t we see each other as the genderless beings of energy that we actually are and work TOGETHER? I say we remember that the spirit within us today is the same spirit that danced within us at 5 and we are as capable of feeling limitless joy and acceptance now as we were then. Maybe it doesn’t come as effortlessly now as it once did, but it can still come if we allow it to. I say if we hold hands and stick together, anything is possible. I’ll start with me.
“C’mon people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now…” -The Youngbloods