Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Thread that Connects Us All

Nothing exists by itself; everything is part of a greater whole, an unwritten, unspoken Covenant of Being. Isolation is an artificial state contrived to work against the interconnectedness of the natural world. Even actions, as Newton proved, have equal and opposite reactions, and never occur without interconnection. The rock is part of the crumbled mountain—or the sandy beach, solidified. The lone wolf is still part of the pack, and part of his environmental system. The seed, via photosynthesis, is connected to the oxygen that sustains us, as well as the chemicals that break down our bodies when we die. The suicide bomber is connected to a community and to his victims, despite his attempt to sever that connection. The atom is part of a larger cell, and part of the universe. Humans are all part of each other’s existence, and the existence of every being, sentient or not, with whom we share this planet. Natural laws show us that a common thread always connects disparate things in this universe. Again, nothing exists by itself, and no one can deny this unavoidable connectedness between all things.

So, what is the common thread that connects everything? I ask atheists to identify this supreme Connector. They will, of course, try to find some scientific explanation, something that does not in any way acknowledge religious beliefs—despite the fact that many of the world’s most brilliant scientists acknowledged that their answers ended with that very question. But no one can deny the existence of this unifying thread, whatever they choose to call it. Both simple and brilliant minds identify it as “God,” or some alternate name related to this intangible entity. Thus, without any better name, I assert that GOD is the thread that connects you to me, and us to everything. And even the atheist, who denies that which connects him to his world, will learn this truth someday, when his brain expires and mere thinking gives way to understanding—the soul’s domain.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Raising Admirable Kids

To be an admirable Mom, one of my main goals in life, I need more than admiring kids. After all, it's no feat to get KIDS to admire you; if you simply show them gentle love, fierce support, and calm trust, you're a virtual superhero in their early years. But to get my grown-up children to admire, that's the kind of admiration that really matters, for it is based not only on how I treat them, but on how I treat the world. And such admiration from them results, most importantly, in their becoming admirable themselves. My desire for their admiration is thus not about feeding my ego, but about contributing to the world.

When my son spontaneously hugs me after I've come home from visiting a sick relative, and whispers down (DOWN now, he's so tall!) into my hair, "You're such a good woman, Mom," I've begun to meet my goal. When my youngest teenage daughter says, "Mom, thank you so much for helping me follow my passion for acting and singing; I'm going to be the same way with my own kids," then I see HER as a future admirable Mom. When my oldest daughter, from college, tells me that her new friend is interested in reading my newest novel manuscript, I feel awed that my daughter admires me and my work enough to make it a topic of discussion with some young woman whom I've never met. "Oh my gosh, you told your friend about my novel?" I gush. And she replies matter-of-factly, "Well she loves poetry novels and yours is great, so I recommended it. I wish it would get published already!" My daughter, my fan. Sigh.

As I continue to raise my daughters and son into adulthood, I try to remember to ask myself, "Now how can I set the best example for the sake of my grandkids and great-grandkids (if I am so blessed)?" And though I might gripe about their lack of help with dishes or laundry, or try to instill responsibility with too many "No's" and not enough "Okay's" sometimes, I honestly, earnestly, try to be the kind of parent who catalyzes, rather than stifles, growth. Some of the most important words I can say as a Mom are "I trust you to make the right choice;" however, the importance of those words is contingent upon the value of my trust. Admirability must precede admiration.