Saturday, July 16, 2011

Los tiburones comen carne.

Sometimes there's just too much to fit into this heart of mine.

Of course, that's just a metaphor. Of course it all fits. My heart is not actually swelling like a balloon, crowding my lungs. It just feels that way.

Like when I listen to music and my eyes tear up partly because it moves me so much, partly because that's a big part of what I want to be doing with my time and I'm not doing it. Or like when there are problems with my family.

Talking to my niece on skype a couple days ago, everything she said brought tears to my eyes. "Jim is... lavando los platos. Grandma Millie is... tomando," she said. "Do you like the beach?" I asked her. "Si, la playa," she replied. "Do you like to surf, like Tio Sami?" I asked. "No, porque hay tiburones. Hay tiburones buenos y hay tiburones malos. Y los tiburones comen carne."

"That's true," I told her. Los tiburones comen carne. My eyes dripped into my keyboard.

A friend of mine just became an uncle this week. The baby was about two weeks late and when it was finally born, he said, "I did it! I'm an uncle!" We were supposed to work that day, important paperwork and feedback after instructing a course. My friend could not concentrate, all he could do was stare at the baby pictures that came in on his iphone. All I could do was remember my own niece and appreciate that sometimes love for others is more important than paperwork.

I don't like babies, generally. They remind me of newborn rats, pink and helpless. Or little aliens. They don't usually look cute to me. (Yeah, my biological clock must be digital, because it's certainly not broken, and it certainly doesn't tick.) Except when I met my niece suddenly my whole life made sense. That's why I dedicate so much of my time to trying to make the world better in whatever small way I can. That's why I work in outdoor education. That's why I try to be kind and compassionate to strangers. And to my family. For her. For all those little babies I guess. For all of us. Becoming a Tia was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Personally, I don't believe in good sharks and bad sharks. Though I do believe in sharks, and I do believe they eat meat. And like us, they are just making one decision at a time. Some good, some bad. The sharks don't swim around thinking about how causing unnecessary suffering is bad. But I do. And it feeds into almost everything I do. And my heart swells.

Sometimes there's just too much to fit into this heart of mine. But that's just a metaphor. Really it all fits, even if it does leak out my eyes.

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