It is funny how the little things slip away from us without our noticing. I heard a classmate talk about his weighing the pros and cons of becoming an account. “It seems a very logical choice.” He paused. “When did I stop wanting to become an astronaut?” He asked and we did not know how to answer except to chuckle softly, but it was no joke. My small cousin questioned me with a ‘knock, knock’ joke the other day and I could not recall how I was supposed to respond. When did I forget such a simple thing. A simple, almost intrinsic part of human life. To make a small joke, to dream to touch the heavens. “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?” When did cynical, sarcastic, or caustic comments become the only jokes I know and when the pragmatic became my life’s motive? I simply did not notice.
I used to have this list, a compilation of things I hated. Not just some mindless list of seafood, earwigs, or asthma, but a serious, thought out list of things in life that truly irked me. Things, happenstance, or situations I found to be disquieting. It included among others, the following.
-I hate that I grew up in a country at war, but besides the occasional viewing of a political pundit on the television shouting advice, I did not feel many ramifications.
-I hate that forgiveness could fix everything, but no one is willing to see the solution.
– I hate when people say “but deep down he is a nice guy.” If it takes deep down you are not good, you are just weak.
And yesterday it dawned on me that maybe only monsters or Sith Lords keep a documented list of things they fear or despise. This struck me while I was watching some of my friends take a bow. They stood on a stage and clasped hands to take a bow. That is when I saw it, he very subtly turned towards her and winked. Such a wink, small and kind and encouraging, what a gesture of love. This was her first performance with a starring role and she was nervous and not entirely satisfied. I witnessed this simple gesture and realized how wonderful it is to watch two people you love be in love with each other.
Then all of a sudden a slew of things I had happened upon in the last month that I loved were so much more important that all those “profound” things I have hated. I got to spend a period of a day watching my older cousins be parents to their children. Good parents; loving, disciplining parents. What a thing to see, to watch them develop a skill entirely out of love.
Recently I got to push one of my little cousins on the swings. I tried to teach the four year old how to propel herself. “Out and in. Out and in.” She repeated this on the swing next to me not understanding the concept of the lean while I rose and fell, my hair hanging mid air enveloping me and then falling away. I convinced her to call me Swingin Sal, which was darling and completely contrived.
Lastly, a week or so ago we learned that a dear pal was accepted into the Peace Corps so we shall have to go without him at Christmases, weekend trips, and in the Hawaiian shirt aisle of the local thrift shop for over two years. My first thought was how much I was going to miss him. How dearly I was going to miss the sounds of our other friends’s laughs when it is he that makes them jovial. As I obtained my new perspective on lists it came to dawn on me that I could just as easily be glad to know the distinct sounds of those laughs. To be able to hear them and think that those laughs are so specialized to Colin’s inane jokes. Jokes that are going to be so underappreciated to people who do not speak his language. Jokes that are going to be so missed.