Scratch Below the Surface

The other day, I watched my nephew play with his Lego figurines. His brow furrowed in concentration as he swapped heads and legs, helmuts and hair. I was struck by how the activity mirrored my niece swapping the outfits and shoes on her dolls. Same game, different toys.

We focus so much energy to highlight differences among us. Perhaps, if everyone looked more closely, we might begin to notice all the ways we are alike.

We all have opposable thumbs and carry both red and white cells in our blood. We all cry the same salty tears. Too many tears, lately.

The next time hate, anger, doubt, or fear focuses the attention on what sets people apart, pause and take a breath. Then, try to note some of the multitude of ways we are alike.

Different hair color, eye color, skin color: same fears and insecurities. Different religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status: same hopes and dreams.

Scratch below the surface, and recognize we are all human.





Something is Missing

Last night I woke at 2:30am convinced that I’d left something at the dry cleaner weeks ago and forgotten to pick it up. What was it? Where was the little green paper slip I would need to pick it up?In the dark, I tried to scrawl a note to myself to deal with it in the morning, but I couldn’t let go of the feeling. A few minutes later, I stood in my closet with the light on pushing through articles of clothing. The last two items I remember taking to the dry cleaner were there, still encased in the plastic film not meant to be used as a crib liner. Was it a shirt? a dress? Nothing was missing. Returning to my bed, I was still bothered by the feeling.

In the morning light, the episode felt like a metaphor, perhaps to help me sympathize with my uncle who is rapidly losing his memory. Maybe it is a window into my own future memory loss, but if I really listen, I hear the whispers from something in the past. Something I once had is now missing, and what is unclear is whether to continue to search for it, or embrace the loss knowing that having less makes room for more in the future.