I dedicate this post to the misfits, the outcasts, the misunderstood, the writers, musicians, and artists; for we are all one and the same. We are the Jonathon Livingston Seagulls of the World. The Ones Who Feel Alone, but are oh, so NOT alone. The ones who remember a world that was kind, that THOUGHT and created-and we barely tolerate this one that has taken her place.
If I could, I’d give you a wing-high-five and “warm hugs”. I love you. I love my fellow JS Seagulls; I love my people.
I love the way you think. I love the way you feel. I love the way you LIVE…because you truly do. You LIVE. And because you do, you are brave. I am proud to be a part of you.
I used to not want to be different. Then I knew I was different but camouflaged my plumage of bright colors in a black, white, and gray world, and dumbed down my Pilgrimage, as no one would ever understand. Right? Now, when I want to censor myself, I remember, “No…not anymore. I am this way for a reason.”
The world has changed. Instead of celebrating differences, it divides over them, becoming deeply polarized. No wonder differences are no longer celebrated. They’ve become tiresome at the least, and dangerous at the most.
It’s enough to make one think they are in “The Wrong Band,” as Tori Amos’ sings, and start drinking the koolade to conform. But hold on…we are not in the wrong band. It just seems that way. Put the koolade… down. Now, back away. Whew. Thank you. We need all the JS Seagulls we can get.
I grew up in a time and place where Route 66, full of stoplights, interesting DIFFERENT Moms & Pops’ stores, and meanderings, kept going and going until it landed at an ocean….a vast, roaring mass of possibilities….open, untamed, beautiful, mysterious, powerful. The land could not hem it in. It tried with breakers, and filled-in beaches. But no, the ocean would eventually have her say if the world had forgotten to respect her. She would tumble upon those breakers, and create new formations upon the beaches. She would erode layers to expose shale rocks underneath, or be kind and lay down deep carpets of fresh soft sand, depending upon her mood. But she decided, and nothing could quell her, or detain her. No one owned her. She was open to everyone to enjoy. She was FREE.
People loved her. She was not ignored in their presence, as they texted or facebooked. She was soaked in and treasured. Now, is she barely noticed beyond a requisite, franchised restaurant view?
I belong to that untamed epoch and appreciation of the now…The Era of Possibilities… Disneyland was only 12 years old when I was born, and when I turned 12, Dr Robert Schuller’s magnificent Crystal Cathedral had broken ground and was rising beyond its scaffolding. Plus, being a beach girl, my neighbors and I were “happy, shiny people.” We smiled at one another, and said “hello.” It was the time before snootiness overshadowed surfing. It was wonderful! I used to sit at the shore, be mesmerized by the rolling waves, and let my mind soar…daydreaming. I’d come up with ideas, connections and insights so fast, that my pen could hardly keep up.
Today, I think it is harder to be that way. It is a more dangerous world. And as a result, having been protected their entire lives our new “Millennials” have been taught not to think for themselves, but to need constant supervision and thus, constant approval. Helicopter parenting is deemed good parenting. Creativity and story-telling have been supplanted by YouTube. It is hard to see fresh possibilities in the onslaught of information-without-substance. Do a Google search? Find lots of trivia…but you will still have to search through the listings for the substantial truth of any subject. Do people even bother? No, they want sound bytes and quick answers. Headlines, any headlines-repeated enough-will be thought of as truth.
Anyway. Even with the constant noise, the constant information, the constant sensory overload, I find the world has become unbearably…dull.
Back to the JS Seagulls, the Hearth Burners and the Bowl-Filler. Particularly, now the Hearth Burners:
I was talking to another blogger before Christmas, about how it just didn’t feel like the holidays to her this year. I have met and heard so many people who have said that this year. I have felt it too. It as if, since Paris, and then San Bernardino, etc… we are in a collective depression. There are lots of reasons for it, but I won’t go into them. My goal here today is to offer encouragement and solidarity, as we begin the New Year.
The one thing that struck me was that as I talked to people who said it didn’t feel like Christmas, it was as if they thought that since the world turned away from the hope of the Season, then perhaps they should too. Perhaps they should give up. It has been a long dark journey of late, to be a Christian…
But why should we? Why should we turn away, just because others are? As we begin this New Year, why shouldn’t we hold onto hope all the MORE? Fine, the “world” is turning away. SCREW the “world.” Hold onto the joy and the peace and the HOPE inside yourself even MORE. Be a frickin’ pit bull, clamp on and DON’T LET GO. We need these things now more than ever.
This world is not all there is. This world is not the only world that ever was. And this world is a world that will change again in 5 minutes. So forget it. I am not going to base my life, my values, my direction on something so incredibly transitory. The world wants to turn away from traditional values and treasuring good things? They want to celebrate greed, and “me-first,” and “what-do-I-get”? Let them. They want to put down any “spiritual beliefs whatsoever” (a quote from a store employee). My world will stay alive, INSIDE. It will be full of warmth, goodness, and hope–everything that we used to celebrate.
Guard these things within, my Precious Ones. Let them grow there. These things are true, good and that which will last. The greedy ones will lose their belongings one day, through Life or through Death. The “me-firsts” will be disappointed in their errors in thinking. And the “what-do-I gets” will see that their “gets” will grow old, tired, break, and be thrown away.
But we are the Hearth Burners. Let us tend the fires where Warmth for the Soul truly is. This “warmth” is still real, and we can enjoy these things even if others do not. So what if others want to play in the ice? We do not need anyone else’s permission. We know what we are doing. Let us find others who also value what we value. They still exist. Let’s grow, quietly and protected, as for now they do not want to hear us. Yes, we are under attack for the way we believe. It is true. And it is hard to hold on and stand up. But eventually, our fires will grow so warm and bright, the ones in the ice will want to know why. And then, we can choose to share the warmth, and not hoard like the ice-dwellers do with their shiny toys. Or not. There ARE narcissists (more on them, later this year) who seek to take what they are just dying for -a fresh supply of what they are empty of and refuse to nurture one bit, within. Goodness. But with the exception of those evil ones, I hope we do share our goodness when that time comes. I hope we are better people for what we believe, love and live.
I commented on the sweet one who asked on her blog, “Where is Christmas?” letting her know I felt the same way.
I said,”I think the only thing we can do is not to give up. Maybe others are turning away, but that does not mean we have to. We each can decide to keep the traditions for ourselves, and keep the hope alive, within, until others are ready to remember and share again. I am willing to be a hearth-burner, and hope one day others will find their way to it, to enjoy it.
Which brings to me to my next point. I quoted Cold Mountain in my comment above. In a heart-breaking scene, Renee Zellwigger’s character releases her neighbor from what would have been a cruel death at the hands of their Town Ice-Dwellers while most of their men and protectors were fighting in the Civil War. As she does she shouts with fury and at the top of her lungs, “This world won’t last! God won’t let it!”
So let’s turn our attention now to The Bowl-Filler….