I fancy myself a writer and therefore an observer of the human condition. It’s my nature to wonder why and explore the options, often painstakingly, in my head then let those thoughts spill from my mind to written word. One of the most puzzling parts of the human experience is how we can speak so freely when expressing discontent yet remain silent on the flip side.
It is said that we are all driven by one of two forces: Love and Fear. Is the comfort of Fear — lashing out wildly to strike the first blow or to encase one’s heart in cement so it won’t get hurt — that much more appealing than the vulnerability of Love?
It must be. And that is life’s tragedy. So often we wait until the end is near, or even passed us by, to allow light to escape thru a crack in the wall around our truest selves. How often have I seen a friend kneel before a coffin and offer forgiveness for the long lost person who lay inside of it? How often have I seen a friend clutch the hand of another and say with a lump in their throat…I wish I told you…or I thought you knew…. How often have I been that person on my knees or the one with tears cascading down my cheeks?
It is on days like this that the reminder that time runs out faster than you realize sucker punches us in the gut. So many stories of lovingly desperate last words said before their lives were stolen.
Then as I was watching the relentless Hurricane Irma coverage yesterday and Hurricane Harvey the weeks before, I noticed something. The mighty and study oaks fell hard when tested by the stress of the storms that blew in and created their own destruction in addition to the storms as they came down. The tireless work of clearing their destruction will carry on long after the storm is gone. While in silent contrast, the delicate and graceful palm trees swayed and bent when they were tested by a historically fierce storm. They came out not quite the same way they went in…but they survived and they did not make the damage from the uncontrollable tempest worse. They will continue to live and grow during the recovery. And the irony of life’s full circle, the palm trees of the World Financial Center were almost all that stood 16 years ago today in their graceful defiance of the chaotic horror surrounding them.
Getting older and (hopefully) wiser as I continue my keen writerly observations, I work toward operating from a place of Love more and a place of Fear less and less. It’s hard being human so I think I will try to be more like a palm tree. Being vulnerable makes you strong.