We breathe the same air ~ yet no one seems to care
Outside our body is the only unique ~ Inside identical, it is love that we seek
Before you read any further, this has nothing to do with Oprah, or a plethora of free items, insuring that those selected will get a big ticket item she can’t live without, and they can never afford. It is however, about something much deeper, and unless you kicked the bucket in 1970, you will remember a boy named Charlie, and a single golden ticket, changing his future forever. His grandfather later confirmed the moment, by saying, “Charlie you won!”
Despite poverty and minimal prospects for a successful life, Charlie had already won, long before he found the chocolate, because as we discover…he had one. That one was a mother who loved him unconditionally, and a family, which although struggling to survive, still saw the good, because they had one another. After all, that’s the true ticket we are given as we pass Go, and start the game of Life…before greed, deception, ego, and friends monopolize who we were supposed to be, causing us to lose sight of our future.
Unlike golf, life doesn’t toss a mulligan when we need a do over. Instead, it demands we stay the course, try not to be a pawn, and roll the dice at least once on the journey, taking a chance with the cards we’ve been dealt. The problem with unwritten instructions, however, is that we rarely follow them, and often bring along friends, not offering the best advice, or with a decent track record. These guests on our path, can also emotionally bankrupt our soul…long before we realize it has happened.
Recently, a certain celebrity was featured in the news, mourning for her dead mother, a woman she walked away from years ago. Glittering in the public eye, this friendly actress has always been one to follow on gossip pages, watch on television and in movies, and for some, live vicariously through…or at least share the same haircut. How complete her life must be, since she had no use for the one mother, and one life she was given…until it was too late. I would call her actions an Imitation of Life, however, that title and movie have already been done twice…and very well, I might add, with the painful result perfectly dramatized. Because you see, no one ever wins at a funeral, and two are lost forever.
If life is indeed a game of winning and losing, why do so many make the mistake of cutting the quarterback and/or the coach, right as their game gets interesting? Sure, if it was Vegas, the card dealer handing out too many wins should be replaced, but only so the house would win, and not any onlookers, hoping to take what was never theirs in the first place. You see…if we’re lucky or blessed, we already have a winning house, where unconditional love waits behind every unopened door, and there aren’t any moments of chance. Why then deliberately pass on your past?
The only rational explanation for walking away from your one, the won that doesn’t come with a trophy or certificate, can only be explained as a combination of pride and ego, coupled with fear and emptiness, which sadly, are the four corners in a home, that compassion always sweeps clean, insuring room for acceptance and love.
Nevertheless, a part of me is happy for those who can successfully rewrite their personal story, delete characters that know too much, remember too often, or refuse to accept an inevitable wrong decision ( Hell, we all have uncomfortable history!) That being said, such people still only live a faux fantasy, much like the children that went with Charlie into the chocolate factory, with a fake existence forcing them to perform daily. And should their agendas ever see the light of day, they’ll have no one but themselves to blame, having missed out on not just their true journey, but who they should have been, with loved ones supporting them…even at their lowest point.
Yes, this actress is worth millions of dollars, has vacationed and celebrated herself for years, and has once in a lifetime memories, even walking down the aisle with her own brand of Prince Charming. However, you can’t tell me, that there isn’t a place in her heart hurting, a place where one woman, one family and one memory got removed. After all, you only get one moment at a time…and they never repeat, no matter how good they can be, or how much money you have to spend.
Just as the paper a certain Golden Ticket was printed on, once a page in life is read, all but life is dead…or so says Perry Como. Likewise, sand through the hourglass, is either just days of our lives, or the time left to hand over our ruby slippers, before facing the end, in a nightmare of epic proportions…complete with flying monkeys and melting witches! So make sure you do it right, with the people who know you best, and love you the most.
In rock music, one may be a lonely number, but in life, having that one hand, one heart and one love behind you, usually from your first breath, is the sole reason you have for trying, succeeding and discovering who you are. Because when everything is over, regardless of motives, fears, embarrassment and pain, if you’ve walked away from your one, in time, you’ll be the one lost…no matter how much you think you’ve won.
There was a saying once, that you were old when you worried about the denigration of the youth. Now, however, it is the denigration of society and the entire human race, and worrying about it has long since grown old. Vogue Magazine, the timeless tome of advertising, style and impulse dreaming, was in the news today, with an exhibit, which confirms that flash for cash is no longer model behavior, leaving behind negative images, cluttering the stage of society. That being said, it also confirms there isn’t any social left in humanity, so along with your exhibition, please pen a new moniker for this world…the darkness where we co-exist.
Newspapers and magazines were the first tangible window of the world, bringing fashion, news, humor, spirituality, cartoons and advertising. Teething on these pages of once mighty trees, was a rite of passage, which gave us the option to share life with one another, offer an opinion or quote a fact. I am proud to have known it, because it is where my mind learned, and yearned for more. However, as that desire grew, so did curiosity, and soon Pandora’s Box was laid open, against waves of invisible communication, offering more than ever dreamed possible.
That being said, knowledge is not rude voyeurism, which is what now corrupts our minds, hearts and souls. Why is it news to know the intimate deals of strangers or celebrities? Watch boils and cysts pop open, spewing yellow and green pus against blood stained gauze, or hear heart wrenching details, as someone dies or an animal is killed? Likewise, underwear is just that…something worn under…and in private, not something for public commentary! Nothing is sacred anymore, personal or sentimental…because if it will get a response on social media, it is posted, and all the more, if it could be liked or become viral…as well as vile. We don’t dream or live vicariously anymore, we live for quick attention, even if it is bad, or disgusting.
The society we have created, has fallen back to a Roman thumbs up or down with more lying than lions, as people tear down lives with hateful comments or jealous retorts. Everything is now offered for public critique, and there is no end in sight. Bullies, advertising companies, media productions and our very children will continue this game of life to the end, as it gets darker and darker. People are hurt, some die and some simply give up, all because of empty words and personal bravado, stepping in where it never belonged.
Lord of the Flies is no longer a book against a wall, but a reality, as we turn on one another just because we can, and know we will come out victorious with Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter crowds of invisible applause and approval. I remember fears that Strawberry Fields would forever brainwash the youth, offering ideas of free love, pot and LSD, music and nonconforming lifestyles, sure to undermine the establishment. However, as someone from that same slice of American Pie, I saw more love for one another, compassion, and roots of family values than I ever saw hate, blood and destruction.
All lives mattered when I grew up, and we didn’t need to make it a statement, we just respected it and one another. Yes, there were times of political and racial unrest, but the foundation my home was on, was committed to caring, and with my open door, open heart and open mind, I didn’t need an open Wi-Fi- signal to share. Life, like everything else, only works when it is taken care of, allowed to find its own level, tended and nourished with honesty and love.
Maybe someday compassion, understanding and brotherhood will again be in vogue, and having pride and class won’t be something held up for comment, but will again define character in more than an exhibition. Then again, we’ve moved so far in the wrong direction, does anyone even care? What I do know, is that Somewhere over the Rainbow there are more than a few Grateful Dead, happy they are not living in the shadowed reality we’ve accepted, and taken for granted.
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Closet doors open and close, mirrors reflect black or white, and all the time the question is the same…or is it? In the past few days and weeks, we have seen a world class athlete expose his intimate secrets and gender identity, as well as a black leader in our sea of society, exposed as Caucasian. Excuse me as I sit down and shake my head for a moment, while brushing off all the twitter and headline backwash that came with the headlines.
In my home and in my heart, I find such personal announcements to be quite sad. After all, they have exactly the same soul as the person who woke up last month, last year or even last week, all that changed, was a little decorative window dressing, and for that alone the world fell off its nut, and they felt a need to explain.
Respecting anything or anyone has long since expired in our culture, and with that has followed compassion and trust. Why is it so damn important in our lives, who is married to who, who wears a bra or a jock strap, buzz cut, Afro or pin curls? The core value of life isn’t connected to some sparkle, shine, shade or flavor on the outside. Just ask yourself, when was the last time you bought something and kept the box, throwing the contents in the trash? Ever craved just a candy bar wrapper? How about settling for a picture of a house instead of some cozy 2 bedroom with a kitchen? When your beloved pet ages do you kick them to the curb? How about a special dinner date with empty plates? The part that makes a difference is the core component…the soul, the meal, the heart, the security and nothing else!
We label and judge everything, forgetting to care or help, and it doesn’t take more than a two minute check on social media or the world as a whole, to see that sad fact. People are showered with celebrity, for no reason other than they have opportunity, money or are attractive, pushing the world further into ignorant pits of self-loathing. How hard is it to understand we are all in life together for a reason, and that together we have the ability to make incredible things happen! Caring for one another should be as easy as breathing, but instead, we work at having selfish and cruel intentions, which never better anyone or anything.
Just like a chain or the DNA we all carry, each link is vital for survival and strength, and I like to think that is also why our hands can hold, and our hearts can open, making them ready to attach others in life. If a person or child is secure and happy, we have no right to judge the social structure where or how they live, and it should never be up for a vote by a government, or be a form of media news. If someone is doing the job they can, or living an honest life, all that should be up to us, is to maybe see if we can offer something to better the process, thus forging another link in humanity.
There has never been a moving van behind a funeral procession. Material things, along with opinions and judgments stay behind after we die. What does remain, however, is who we were, who loved us and the difference we made or tried to make. So the next time you are at the store, reach over and buy a candy bar…but save just the wrapper. Think about what you wasted in time, money and content after you threw the chocolate away, and how stupid it was…then, apply that same principle to your life.
The next time you decide to judge someone for their appearance, social standing or values, especially when they have no impact on you personally, remember two things. One, an empty wrapper and second, the simple fact that when you ask someone where they are…they usually say Here, something as basic as life itself. Maybe then you will understand all any of us ever have is a simple, but sometimes earthly decorated soul, which lives in the only here and the only now, just wanting acceptance.