*disclaimer: I might be wrong.
I used to think that I had to start a big organization, charity, or company to matter in the world. You know, like the guy from Tom’s shoes or whatever. Something with lots of publicity and big crowds…something I’d be remembered by.
I tried this at one point in my life, and with the current state of things, I’m often drawn back into this sort of thinking. Then I walk through the door of my house where the pitter-patter of feet burst into shouts of joy that daddy is home (unless the TV is on at which point they couldn’t care less).
Flashback. My days working at the Apple Store (insert Twilight Zone music).
I vividly remember being cursed at by a woman who simply couldn’t wait a half hour for her turn. After her tantrum, she just stormed away – right out of the store, refusing service altogether. By the way, she was wearing a shirt with a peace symbol on it.
I remember thinking: we want world peace, but aren’t willing to be patient. We want to see change, but not have to change ourselves.
My friend Shane says that “everybody wants community, but no one wants to do the dishes.” What I’ve learned (and what I think Shane was saying) is that I am easily drawn towards lofty solutions and ideas – when changing the world might simply mean showing up every day, loving the hell out of my kids, and actively participating in their lives. In the every day and seemingly mundane things, to engage them and the world from a place of wholeness, gratitude, and compassion. To ask the question, “How am I showing up in the world?”
This isn’t the sexy work of “the revolution.” It’s not what they put on the recruitment brochure or what’s put on the Facebook page. No marches or petitions. No ones chaining themselves to a tree (although similar attempts have been made in our home). It’s been said that the greatest revolution is often the personal one; because how many of us have been trying to wage world peace, when, like the woman from the Apple Store, aren’t doing the hard work within ourselves and with those around us?
I plead guilty.
More than anything I tell my kids, I have found that it is the way in which I engage the world on a daily basis that they will remember and be impacted by. It’s the way I love myself, my wife, and the way I make them feel that might very well be my greatest contribution to the world. It’s the revolution of the every day.
It’s making cookies and being fully alive and present in the moment.
I haven’t always been at peace with letting certain ideas about my life go, but now at 36, I’m ok with that. In fact, I’m all about it. Are there hard days? You bet. Still…I’m all in.
So here’s to the revolution! Where we fight tantrums with compassion.
Long nights with courage.
Tough questions with grace.
And learning with patience.
A little more of all this and maybe we COULD change the world.