Sunday, March 29, 2015

Eternal Questions



There is salvation
but no redemption
in believing
in anything at all.


There is redemption
but no salvation
in disbelief
of everything.


Will it matter
in the end
as long as you
were kind?

Yesterday was my mom's birthday. I remembered in the morning, shortly after waking up, as I was telling my wife about a vivid dream. In the dream, I had taken my wife to my aunt's home in Indiana for a family reunion of some sort, only it was no ordinary reunion. The dead had all returned to join us for the celebration, and no one seemed at all surprised or frightened by this. My grandparents, mother, and an aunt were all there, as alive as the rest of us. 

And it wasn't a going back in time sort of dream, I was the age that I am now, and my wife was with me. My cousins were all grown up, and a few of them had their beautiful children in tow. It was pleasant. There was a whole story within a story about taking a walk and finding a toddler, and falling in love with him and wanting to keep him, but Jena saying we had to turn him over to the police. We finally compromised and agreed to go to the police, but to ask about the possibility of adopting him... but I'm not sure what that part of the story has to do with the rest of it.

Nothing makes me think about how I'm living my own life more than thinking about the people I love who have died. March 28th, my mom's birthday, also marks the halfway point on my own wheel of the year. We were born exactly six months apart, and for years I tried to milk this as a reason I should get a present on her birthday. It was my half-birthday, after all...

Halfway through this year, I feel like I've received more gifts over the last six months than I could possibly count. So far, 37 has been a year of transformation. In this metamorphic state, I feel like I am examining everything, scrutinizing every last detail about who I am and how that compares with who I want to be, the role I play in the world around me, and what core values and principles serve as my touchstones.

I have beliefs and values rooted in my faith, and those gleaned from the life-lessons I've acquired. I have innate personality traits that inform my decision-making and they dwell alongside qualities I have worked long and hard to acquire (or shed). All of these things shape me. They give me form and substance, and there are so many things I want to do and offer that are rooted in my character. But at the center of it all, is kindness. 

Kindness isn't the only value that matters, but without it, I'm not sure that any of the others do. If I can keep bringing myself back to that, I feel certain that the answers to all of my questioning will be illuminated and impossible to miss.

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