Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: little bee

Little Bee: No Innocent Bystanders

“Honestly, Batman? I think I’m one of those innocent bystanders you see in the comics. I’m just a man from a crowd scene.” From Little Bee by Chris Cleaver

innocent bystanders

There are no innocent bystanders in the world, not really. Other human beings aren’t the background characters in your life. No one is an NPC.

Imagine this scene: I’m at the grocery store and a robbery is taking place. In a movie or a book (comic or otherwise), I’m not robbing the store and I’m not being robbed, so I’m a background character. I have no purpose other than to be there filling in the scene. My presence makes the story more exciting because the threat is to a larger group, the gun is swung around a crowd and everyone cowers, a person screams, a mother shields her child behind her. Unless the writer decides to pull one of those crowd members into the action, they just stand there making things visually interesting.

In reality, that isn’t the case. There is no writer. I have free will, a mind of my own, and the ability to take action in any scene I find myself in. In the grocery store robbery, I could have a gun of my own, special skills to talk the robber out of it. Maybe by some strange coincidence, I know the person robbing the store and when they see me, their heart changes in that moment. Or the robbery continues and I’m the one that throws myself in front of a child to protect them, or a take special care to get a close look at the person and I’m able to make a better report of who it was that caused the problem. The possibilities are endless.

Every day, we find ourselves in situations where we can make a difference. Every day we make the choice to act or sit by and watch. No, we can’t change the whole world. Most things are far out of our circle of influence. But we can’t sit and cry over what we can’t do. We must look for what we can. Where can I make a difference right now?

Years ago, I decided that my own family was my priority. Second in my life were the people that I see every day, friends, coworkers, and people around town. Third are the projects, people, and causes outside my immediate reach. This is how I have made choices and lived my life. It has served me well.

There are times when I feel like maybe I should do more. There are times when I wish to hell I could do more. If I only had more money, more energy, more power, I could fix this for someone. When I go back to my principles, I know that I cannot and if I try, I end up making things worse for everyone involved.

But if I’m there, I’m not an innocent bystander. If something is wrong, I say so. If someone needs help, I do my best to provide what I can. That does not include the internet and social media exchanges most times. Those inventions, while doing a world of good at increasing our awareness of the world and our circle of influence, are torturing our consciousness at the same time. A human only has so many resources and we each need to focus our efforts.

Read the previous post inspired by this book, “Little Bee: Ordered and Antiseptic”

Little Bee: Ordered and Antiseptic

“In our small garden I have made a wild place to remind me of chaos, Andrew once wrote in his column. Our modern lives are too ordered, too antiseptic.” From Little Bee by Chris Cleaver

ordered and antiseptic

I agree…and then I don’t. Our “ordered and antiseptic” ways allow humans to live a longer and less stressful life. We know when and where our food and water will come next. We know what to expect in life and can plan our lives and become more prosperous. We know where to go for help and when to work things out for ourselves. We have more power over our lives.

If each day, I woke up with no order to things, I’d spend most of my day finding food, water, and shelter, and keeping that from everyone else doing the same. Without our antiseptic ideas, we’d continue to eat lower quality dirty food and water, and our wounds would fester and kill us. That’s the old way of living. Lives were harder, shorter, and rough. Pastoral life was not pleasant.

But the whole world is not ordered and antiseptic. There are wild places near our gardens that remind us of chaos. Whole regions, countries, and continents. People there spend their lives trying to stay alive as long as they can in very rough ways. They make terrifying attempts to get to places that are more ordered and antiseptic. And many times, we throw those weeds back into the wild place.

I’ve spent my morning wondering…

What can we do to help the rest of the world find more order, become more antiseptic? How do we, who have found ourselves in the middle of a garden, help that garden spread so that the rest of the world can prosper and thrive with us?

Read the previous post inspired by this book, “Little Bee: Scars”

Little Bee: Scars

My comments on quotes from any book are typically not about the story, they are about myself, so I’m not worried about spoilers. Don’t get me wrong, I have many thoughts about how the story plays out and how it is told, but my blog isn’t a book review. It’s a journey through what I am reading, how it relates to me, and what I learn about the world and myself through the story and characters.

This one here is something we all need to remember.

“We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.” From Little Bee by Chris Cleaver

scars

Scars are only wounds that have healed over. Life leaves scars and all of them are beautiful because they remind us that there is hope. We are alive and there will be more story to tell because we survived the previous one and have learned something. This book is leaving scars on my heart in a beautiful way.

Some of my scars I can hide easily, and some are glaringly obvious to everyone that passes by.

Each time I lose my mind or throw a fit about something that seems insignificant, my scars are clearly showing. I’ve not let that wound heal properly. I’ve not learned from it yet, so it stands open and at risk to infection, spreading through my life and those around me.

The ones I hide easily are the everyday worries. The pictures I share on social media hide the anxiety about the future, the stress of wondering what the future holds, if they love me, will they leave, will I get through this event, that built up in my mind until that moment. It may look easy, like I have it all together, but you’re only seeing what I want to share, those happy moments when I overcame the anxiety and let things roll on by and into a beautiful day. I know I’m not alone.

We all carry our past into our future. I think we’re supposed to. I’d like to think at some point in our lives we should be able to open those cases and pull out our past to examine it without the pain, like running a finger over a physical scar.

It’s our past, the life we have lived, and everything leaves a mark of some kind.

I’m opening my suitcase right now, each day, pulling out that struggling relationship, that wonderous day, that event I thought would kill me, that book that broke my heart, and seeing how I grew with each one in ways I couldn’t see at the time. I run my finger over the scar and know that I’m still alive. There is work to do.

We can’t sit and hide our heads in shame because of our scars. We can’t pity those who have them, as if they are incapable of healing themselves. Instead, we smile and know they are growing wiser in this world just as we are. We can offer a bit of love and support while they do the work, because that’s what we would want.

If there was no hope, there would be no scars because we would be dead.

Read the next post inspired by this book, Little Bee: Ordered and Antiseptic

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