Sufjan Stevens is one of those musicians that lays himself down into my heart--when he sings that voice just grows and pushes until all of the emotion from my center races up into my throat and out of my eyeballs. He has this song called The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts and one of the lines is "We celebrate our sense of each other, We have a lot to give one another". Yes! A big fat resounding Yes!
Last week my student S wrapped herself around me like a baby monkey. She's slight and clingy and sometimes her monkeyness gets on my nerves but I just sat with her that morning because I understand that sometimes I also feel slight and clingy and need to be held. So we sat and we held and we didn't say anything and it was quiet. Then I felt her heart beating on my shoulder. Her tiny heart beating on my shoulder--this little body of spirit and blood and water. I was overcome with this imperative to celebrate and cherish her--to be gentle in the way I touched her and talked with her. I could sense all of the cells in her body moving around and multiplying to keep her alive and could feel the breath commanding the contraction and expansion of her lungs. At the risk of sounding trite, I was jolted into awareness by this pixie miracle sitting on my lap.
At one time our bodies were that tiny and fragile. Remember? Maybe we were four or five or six or seven? Even if we inhabit adult bodies now, there is still some part of us that retains that fragility and delicate form. Maybe it's buried inside, but it's certainly there. And in knowing this, it doesn't hurt to also remember that we have a responsibility--I really believe we do--to take gentle care of each other. To celebrate all that is good and miraculous in being alive, being here together. So much time is spent being bitchy about others that it sucks all of the benevolence out of us. I am guilty of this. So here I am making a statement: I will be softer in the way I speak about others. I will remember the ways in which we all feel little and insecure at times and will engage my compassion in doing so. I will remember that we are so mind blowingly miraculous in our very existence from limbs to lungs to cells that we are nothing less than divine.
If you believe in our inherent divinity or at least place some hope in its existence, please join me in giving a big fat resounding Yes! to celebrating our sense of each other through kinder words, fewer assumptions, and more forgiveness.