Growing out of pain, challenges: Homeschool and New Life grow out of Love

Homeschool is never easy but seeing how your children grow and flourish is reward to keep going.  During this unique time of dealing with the virus and social distancing, Adriana and I are reminded of how life’s challenges have led to rewards.  We try to focus on the promise of experiences that tells us, “hard work will pay off.” I try to remember how perseverance can help us grow. This Virus is not easy, but we are grateful for what we have.  This Pandemic has made me think about what matters in life: for me it is Family, the Love we share, and Being There for Others that may need our help.  

In my last post I referenced Ghandi’s quote, “ Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  

I am finding this translates for me in this time of hardship as “Be the Love you want to see in the world.”

As the mythical Greek bird, The Phoenix, rises from ashes,  we can spread our wings and fly – if we have Love.

It’s kind of like all the extra things burn away and what is left behind is the truly important stuff. 

It is how we climb the mountain, pull ourselves out of the darkness, overcome the virus in our lives— HOW we enact the change we wish to see in the world. Pain, suffering, hardship can be opportunity to help others, reflect on what’s important,—to love. The moments of great challenge in our lives can be the greatest opportunity to bring about change. We can change our priorities, what we focus our energy doing. Maybe we now see helping others as more pressing, being there for our families, pitching in to protect our neighbors, bring food and toilet paper to those that don’t have enough. Lily and Leo have both told me over the last few days how nice it is to have me around, to have time together. Last night over sugar cookies Ava made, Leo said, “Dad the one good thing about the virus is that you are around more!” and my phone had just beeped with a notification: a recent article in the WallStreet Journal echoing that sentiment:

In the darkness of our common struggle to overcome the virus, love shines a beacon of light for us traveling through this tunnel.  Love warms us with the hopeful certainty that we will survive, —like Martin Luther King reminded us of his ancestors overcoming slavery, “We shall overcome”.  

Great people like the big names like Ghandi, King, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Moses and the Isrealites, but also the less known like Adriana’s Nonno and Nonna who overcame the Great Depression and WWII, those special everyday people like mothers and teachers, and doctors and nurses and the clerk at the checkout counter at the food store who shows up to ensure we have food, all these people from famous to everyday folk: overcome life challenges to rise up stronger for their struggles to succeed and bring their light to the world. They let their love shine. Like the Bellamy Brothers sing: ”Let your love flow like a mountain stream.. Let your love fly like a bird on a wing and bind you to all living things. Let your love shine and you’ll know what I mean, that’s the reason…” They all let their love be the change they want to see in the world. (Listen to it here: https://youtu.be/J4Bl_VQ2inM)

Successful people both famous and those that don’t necessarily make the history books share a willingness to grow and overcome, willing to adapt and love in the face of challenges.

Life is different now and may never be the same again. The current Pandemic is terrible, but is also opportunity to rise up and overcome. This Covid-19 can for each of us, for all of us, be opportunity to create a positive change you wish to see in the world, in ourself, and in the lives of others.

Change in our lives both big and pandemic, or the more mundane- like a new job or life experience, brings opportunity to rise to the challenge, change and grow.

A few nights ago I had a dream. I was being chased by what I thought was a frightful enemy, a powerfully armed soldier. The warrior was a version of me, when I was a savage racing through the fields of life, selfish and focused on instincts and basic needs. When my dream double scaled the walls of the fort I was defending, my anarchy twin from the past tackled me: I stared up at a twisted reflection of myself.

It turned out he just wanted to compare notes. I diffused the attack by showing him a folder of artwork from our collective childhood. The beauty of crayon drawings and other artwork seemed to relieve the pressure and the folder full of lost school notes saved by a mothers proud love got us reminiscing together poring over these memories of the joys of childhood: simple love, beauty, trust, joy of discovery, shared friendships.

It turned out he didn’t want to kill me, he just wanted to catch up to me, to be me now, the older and wiser version of myself—the one that understands the value of love. I thought this was sort of like my subconscious was wishing I had gotten smarter earlier in life, wishing I had caught on to appreciating beauty and taking more seriously words of the wise, like, “Life is not lived at the top of the mountains. It is how you climb them that determines your being.” My old self wished to have the love I shared with my kids, my wife. He just wanted to be loved, and “to live in love with Love”.

In youth, in the past, I made mistakes, I was blinded by self-interest and burned myself and others in fires I started.  However I grew out of the mistakes, I fell down, and learned to get up and keep climbing, if I fell again, I didn’t land so far down, and got back up.  People helped me, those loved ones there for me pitched in and lent me a hand up.  I have come to realize we are in this together—its about Love.  I help someone else and then they from their unique foothold and perspective on the mountain of life can help me again gain some ground: a perpetual motion karma ferris wheel.

Much like when Adriana and I were married-my single life passed on, and a new shared life was created. Adriana and I help each other adapt to challenges—like home school, like surviving kids, like paying the bills.  Married life brought challenges we worked to overcome and we grew to be stronger together.   When our oldest, Ava was born, life changed, we worked through the challenging birth experience, the sleepless nights, learning to nurture and sustain another little life. Our old life was over and a new more rewarding “Parent” life began.  It wasn’t easy but the pain brought out a beautiful life in who we grew to become, and in Ava, herself, in all her unique beauty.   Out of the death of our old selves, grew new stronger more beautiful life forces.

So now more than ever, in this time of isolation and pain, suffering and death, challenges and heroic efforts to rise up and overcome,  I have paused to consider the pure simple splendor of Life.

The hardship helps me see the simple beauty. What can I do today to unleash goodness? How can I pitch in to add to the river of healing current? What can I share in and boost in power by working with other people facing these challenges? Together Let’s Be the Change we wish to see in the World. Let’s be the Love we want to see. Let’s be the Route together.

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