This morning I woke up attempting a very specific and arduous articulation of gratitude for my parents and whatever grace of fortune has brought wonderful people to my life. I feel grateful that my parents taught me empathy, communication, forgiveness and persistence. They taught me to give hugs, stand by, remain whole, and wait for the opportunity to be wronged and righted. They taught me the strength to be vulnerable, the compassion to forgive and the ability to suspend judgment. And for these reasons, I trust people. I do not trust them because they will never be unkind or insensitive or angry or wrong; they will be. I don’t ask them to trust me because I’m perfect; I’m not. We are floundering through life together and it can get ugly. I sometimes picture my life on an aerial speedcam and I laugh out loud as I watch the errors of my days as a voyeur; Three kids, 8 mittens, 4 hats, 4 zippers to the car, forgot tea cup, got tea cup, forgot keys on counter, returned to counter, back to car, 3 car seats adjusted, car won’t start, mouthed the word “SHIT,” woops, thought she mouthed it but the oldest is now mouthing “SHIT what, mom?”
We get some things right with practice, but life is often a series of teachable, highly human moments and fledgling mistakes. But yet, I have faith in the people that I have drawn to me, or the people to whom I have been drawn; be it through family, summer camp, proximity, books, or a first conversation when something clicked. I have this faith because my parents told me I would be ok. I have this faith because they taught me I didn’t have to be perfect to be loved by them or anyone else. They taught me not to trust people based upon how often they are getting things right, but how hard they are trying to live right. They taught me to love myself and respect myself and to have high expectations for how I am treated and in so doing, they taught me how to draw goodness to me. They implanted in me at a very young age a clickometer that detects potential friendship and so far, it has been both open minded and accurate. In fact, I have drawn love and goodness to my life like wake beckons dolphins. Thank you Providence, or God, or Almighty Boat Wake, for drawing so many wonderful, loving, and fallible people to my life. Thank you, mom and dad, for teaching me to trust and enjoy them. After getting out of bed with these deep thoughts, the aerial speedcam caught me brushing teeth, making tea, sipping tea, reading my teabag and sitting down abruptly with my hand clasped over my mouth in awe. It read, “be kind and compassionate and the whole world will be your friend.” That sums it up nicely.