Why does everything have to be so incredibly complicated? It's really very simple. I've known...known...from earliest childhood that I was somehow very different from everyone else and somehow...special. That was confirmed when, at about seven years old, I saw the face of God looking down at me from a cloud. Really! I did! It's one of my favorite stories and I swear it is true. I know it wasn't just a cloud face, like cloud sailing ships and cloud elephants--they're all the same color as the cloud. I was lying on my back in the grass, looking for them, when the cloud I was looking at split in half, and there he was. Just his face. He had a black beard and rosy cheeks and he was looking from left to right and smiling. But the part of this story which disturbed me at the time and disturbs me still is that when he saw me, he stopped smiling and the two parts of the cloud rejoined and he was gone.
I raced into the house to tell my mother, who merely said, "That's nice," and told me to sit down for lunch. Life's been pretty much like that ever since.
I suppose one of the reasons I acquired the belief that I was special was that every other signal the world, my classmates, and adults, sent me made it painfully clear that nobody other than me (and my parents and Aunt Thyra and Uncle Buck) thought I was special. Maybe God was just giving me a heads-up about what I could expect.
But--and this will come as a great shock to anyone who has been following my blogs for any length of time--I digress. I was talking about the simple facts of More and Less. I fully expect, as my due for being special, More of everything good and Less of anything bad. Is that asking too much? And I'm not being selfish here. I want the same for you. Why do there have to be so many mean-spirited, pointlessly hateful people in the world? Like cockroaches and clouds of tiny flying insects that swarm around your head on a hot summer day, what is their purpose, other than to suck as much happiness and goodness and kindness out of the world as they possibly can?
I am aware that, often, wanting more leads me to unseemly-for-someone-of-my-innate-specialness envy for the More possessed by others. A friend recently returned from Hong Kong...the latest of several trips, and I was overcome with envy. He showed videos he'd taken while on the train from Hong Kong's airport, and waves of envy washed over me. They reminded me very much of the train I'd taken between Florence and Naples during my month in Europe last year, and I suddenly drew myself up short, my envy shoved aside by embarrassment. Shoved aside, but not eliminated or even lessened. How could I be so ungrateful for the wonderful things I've been able to do in my own life? Easy...because they happened to me, they were simply the way things were. They were my due.
Reality, my arch enemy, calmly pointed out how very many people have never had the opportunity to spend a month in Europe, and while I fully realized the truth of that, I countered with the fact that some people go to Europe and Asia and Africa and the world's-worth of other exotic places regularly. To me, a month in Europe was "WOW!"--to some, it's a casual "oh, yes," while glancing at their fingernails.
In fairness to myself (and I believe in always being fair to myself even when others, I feel, are not), I have never met anyone who did not want More of something and Less of other things. It could be argued that the concept of More wouldn't mean anything without the concept of Less. Having More would be like riding up on an endless escalator. Everything in life requires a balance, a contrast, to give us perspective, and appreciation for what we have.
So that's it. No matter what wonderful things or experiences I have or have had, or shall have, I want MORE!
I'd make a lousy Buddhist.
Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to check out his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1 ).