“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” Albert Camus
There’s this person I know, I’ll call them Sandy since that’s not their name but I wish to be respectful of their privacy. Their journey wasn’t an easy one. Not when you consider how many people still believe the world is supposed to subscribe to the notion that humankind must abide to a uniform script. There are still too many people who are willing to get ugly and mean in order to convey their narrow minded approach to everything and everyone else.
Sandy had a tough road to get here. Born a boy in a conservative Latin family and learning a different truth by adolescence, they hid the truth until it could no longer be hidden. For some, the truth is a liberator but for others such as Sandy, it is the beginning of an arduous journey fraught with complications, betrayal and abject hate.
I took all this into account when I was getting to know them because it’s how I would like to be understood. The golden rule isn’t some bullshit antiquity, it’s a real world solution that works wonders when applied with compassion and understanding. It’s how I learned that Sandy has the kind of personality that makes everybody’s day just a little brighter just by being in the room; smart as all get out, hard working and as genuine a human being as you’re ever going to meet. Sandy isn’t just a good person. Sandy is one of the best people I know, one of the best people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. If you want my slam dunk, that’s a fack jack seal of approval last word on this? I would have enlisted Sandy as a babysitter for my kids back in the day. And that list was reserved for immediate family and a Godmother, so there’s that.
We tend to forget how easy it can be. We’re so wrapped up in the daily mayhem that we lose sight of Camus’ best idea. The one that summons us to get moving to where the getting is good. It’s a place we all have access to if we just let it do its thing. The denomination that threads us together is what should count most of all. If we stopped separating each other as if we were aisles in a grocery store, we would understand ourselves as people. Different and very much the same. Both.
Maybe we don’t ever figure this out. Maybe we drown in our insolence, captive prisoners to the hostilities that are setting perpetual fires to an unkempt world. Maybe we are just too far gone to ever really get to the place where peace matters. Where the quiet of common sense matters. Where life reads like that favorite passage in a classic piece of literature that your brain can feed on in perpetuity. And maybe none of it matters in the end if we give a damn enough to spoil the wreckage with kindness.
If I never knew Sandy, I never write this post and I never feel as hopeful as I do in the moments that come at me from every direction with words that spill over with love and peace and a genuine belief in us. All of us. And it’s a tiny little stretch of real estate with quiet understandings. But its resonance moves the holy spirits that tend to our small mercies, even in the most desperate of times.
Admittedly, I can still be clumsy with pronouns. But I’m earnest and I’m open and I’m honest to this fact. After all, it ain’t hard work. It’s how a person chooses to live because it’s their life . . it’s their choice. My part is the least meeting most in a hug, and I do understand that it’s not everything, but it’s a lot more than nothing at all. And it still counts.
A lot more than we know.