Now this is going to sound kinda corny but I saw a bumper sticker this morning that inspired me to write about it. It read, “Life’s the class, love is the lesson.” Sitting there at that red light for two minutes I all of a sudden felt like waving to the person in their mirror to tell them I agreed. Mind you, I am usually not a big fan of bumper stickers. I often try my hardest NOT to read them actually. So by the time I had gathered the courage to actually get their attention, the light was green and we were moving again. Feeling like I had missed a clear signal from the Universe telling me to make that person’s day, I instead thought that I would write a little anecdote about it here:
Now imagine you are in a classroom. Sitting there in a chair that’s a little uncomfortable, you look around at the walls and see art projects and pictures hanging everywhere. In the front of the classroom there’s a chalkboard virtually covered in chalk dust, yet with no distinguishable marks. On your desk in front of you is a notebook, and in that notebook everything you have ever thought about your “self” is written down. It contains every want you ever expressed, every personality trait you thought you had, everything you’ve ever gotten mad at yourself for… all of it. Now underneath that notebook is your desk. It has a wooden feel to it, and it’s almost as if has been there forever like the trees from which it came. As you look closer, you notice it is scratched up around the edges, clearly showing its age. Inside the desk are all the things you tried to hold onto in your life, all your attachments. Every teddy bear, dog, or gold watch you ever owned is in there. Even some of your friends, people you dated, and past bosses are in there. All the things you have ever worked hard to keep close to you are stored inside that desk.
**Knock Knock** “Uh oh, time to sit up straight! The Professor is here,” you hear someone say behind you as shhhhhh’s fill the air. Slowly the Professor prepares for class by carefully placing everything on the podium. The first thing out of the bag is a rubber chicken, the second, a soft red pillow in the shape of a heart, and the third, a rubber ball. After they are neatly positioned on the podium, the Professor speaks:
“As I’m suuurrreeeee you all remember Class, our last lesson was about humor, represented here by this rubber chicken. And next week’s lesson is to be about play, as represented here by this ball. Now for today’s lesson, I brought this heart pillow. And rather than let you all keep guessing for an eternity, I’ll be gracious and just tell you exactly why I brought it today.” You begin to fixate on the pillow, admiring its texture, as the Professor drones on for a bit. The surface of the pillow has a soft yet welcoming sheen to it. It almost seems as if you could see your reflection in it if you really got up close. And then, just as your day dream seems to get interesting, the Professor tosses the heart shape pillow right at you. It bounces off your chest and onto the ground beside you. Then the Professor speaks again, “Did you hear anything I just said young one? Or were you distracted by the love pillow’s shiny surface? You see, today’s lesson is love. From a far, it will always appear shiny and inviting. But its true value is experienced when you embrace it. Here you go. Give it a squeeze. Can you see how it makes you want to hug it, tighter and tighter? It almost seems as if the harder you squeeze, the more love you feel. Right? Well, that’s the thing about love. All that love you feel for others is also inside you. In order for another to love you back, you must have love to first give them. Love is recognizing that that which is in you is also within them. That’s all for today’s lesson.” The Professor paused for a moment after finishing, as if something was missing. Then, instead gathered everything up again and exited through the rear of the classroom.
After the Professor is gone, you glance down at the notebook before you. For some reason looking back through its pages, those thoughts of “you” don’t seem to carry the same weight anymore. Those things inside your desk? Do they seem different too?
THE TAKEAWAY: So I wrote this sort of abstract anecdote as a way of taking a situation we are all familiar with and throwing in some philosophy. I hope you enjoyed it and if you have any thoughts you’d like to share please do!