Yesterday was trump’s birthday and it was also my dad’s.
Two people who are/were complete opposites.
And one continues to live on in a reign of greedy terror and one dies so tortuously.
This universe would be a comedy it wasn’t so tragic.
Regardless, I will forever be grateful for innocence, art and kindness.
This is Stuart.
We just met at Starbucks and, obviously, we’re friends now.
I told his dad, whose name is Deepak, that I love the way his dog’s ear stands up like that.
He said Stuart is a rescue and he was abused. One ear sustained hearing loss so the other is always raised to compensate.
I said, “That’s so awful. I can’t believe anyone would do that.”
He quickly replied, “I can believe it. Easily. People abuse people. Why not this?”
Deepak and I took an unplanned breath together and then we continued to talk. About dogs, guns, abortion and the bewildering hypocrisy of right wing Christianity.
And now that I’m here, talking to you, all I can say is thank god for people like Deepak.
Because the human consciousness, until it evolves to kindness, until it evolves to selflessness, and until it evolves to unconditional love, is a filthy disease.
And with that, thank god for you too.
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Maybe these people are actually angels or enlightened masters.
These people we walk by as if they’re not even there. These people we deem crazy. These people we look down our noses at.
Maybe these angels or enlightened masters are watching us. Seeing how judgmental we are. Seeing if we’re kind. Seeing if we’re willing to risk it all for love.
Like this guy I saw today outside of a Starbucks in a posh shopping center.
This guy, in meditative ecstasy of a phantom guitar chord, who sees everything we do while his eyes are closed.
thank you for sharing this moment with me,
The guy who works behind the front desk in the lobby of my mom’s building is a retired cop from New York and I go out of my way to shake his hand just about every time I visit.
My dad used to shake his hand so there’s a part of me that believes, or wants to believe, that when my palm makes contact with his (after I extend my arm over the front desk), a cosmic bridge branches out instantly through space and time and connects metaphysically to the nook in the universe whey my dad’s energy forever vibrates.
And that’s it. That’s this whole blog post.
I thought these words needed to be said so I said them. Now we’ll see if they wrap around any brainstems.
What does love look like?
I was sleeping in a narrow cot next to my dad’s hospital bed when I was pulled back into full consciousness and my eyes opened abruptly in the semi dark room.
I jumped to my feet and stood over my dad.
In his sleep, he took a breath.
And that was it. His last one.
Six years ago today.
And I am not writing this for comments or likes or sympathy, but as plea.
A plea for expanded kindness, a plea for love without conditions, and a plea for the full surrender of trivialities.
Because we’re all headed for the same place. And if it’s not you first, you’ll watch it happen to your loved ones.
And it’s so insane, literally, that we live like this isn’t true. But we’re all fruit flies. Here for just a little bit. And only love will make it worth the trip.
Thank you for sharing this moment with me. If I reach the heart of just one person, it will make the pain of putting down the last one hundred and seventy-six words worth it.
This is Abraham.
He works at the gas station I pulled into last night at around 10 pm.
He was changing the garbage at the pump and when I asked him how he was doing, he turned to face me and I saw fire in his eyes. Like the fire from the burning bush atop of Mount Sinai.
He told me to have faith in god. To work. To not worry about what was happening around me.
And he smiled when I told him my name is Gabe.
“Ahh Gabriel,” he said pointing up to the heavens. “You’re the one god chose to tell all of them.”
But the truth is dear reader, one way or another, we’re all messengers.
P.S. he also loved when I told him my grandfather’s name is/was Abraham.
For a split second today, I saw my father’s face.
I saw it in my own reflection in the car window.
My hair is a bit shorter than it usually is and on a whim this morning, I trimmed up my face. Which lead us, by coincidence or cosmic coordination, to seeing eye to eye together for the first time in a long time.
I wonder, if they do look down at us from up there, if he’d be proud of me or utterly disappointed.
If kindness counted, which I hope it does, then I’d be in good shape.
The universe seems to have a mind of its own.
And it’s own, incalculably unpredictable agenda. Even with small things which may seem meaningless at first.
Innocuously, an old Clapton song made a deep footprint in my mind as I was getting in the car earlier this morning. I searched for it on Spotify but I must have “mistyped” because a Paul Simon album I haven’t heard in at least ten years popped up.
So I played it on the way to Starbucks.
And I was crying in seconds.
My dad loved this album and always smiled when I surprised him with it at home or in the car. But I didn’t reflect on this with words. I felt him. I saw him so clearly. Driving. Fingers tapping on the steering wheel. Singing along. Graying hair, like mine now. And if it was the summer, I’d turn his heated seat on when he wasn’t looking.
So what does this all mean?
Was it divine serendipity or blind coincidence coming out of chaos?
In this moment, I couldn’t care less.
I’m just so grateful for a such a strong memory of him happy and healthy. And I’m so grateful it’s lingering with me as I sit here with an iced coffee while writing to you.
And with that, maybe we can all go a bit easier on our loved ones today. Yep, they can stress us out at times, but trust me when I tell you that it all ends. And all we’ll have left, when they’re made available to us, are our memories.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Without you, my words would have no purpose. So, thank you.
“Calling old friends on the corners, just to lay our prayers upon them.” – Paul Simon
This is Fernando.
I just met him outside of Starbucks.
He’s a sweet gentle man.
He grew up in Italy during WWII under Mussolini and is shocked by what’s happening here. In America. His home for the last sixty years.
Beautifully though, he’s waiting next to me now as his wife shops next door. They just celebrated their 64th anniversary and he told me to make sure I find a good one.
He also told me that he used to be a carpenter but broke his back on the job and had a big surgery in 1995.
He misses work terribly. He misses being able to do things around the house.
“I used to do everything,” he said with a thick Italian accent. “Now I can’t do nothing.”
He sat there silently for a moment. Then he took an audible breath, looked out into the distance, and smiled. He said, while still looking out passed our immediate surroundings, as if there was a movie camera out there waiting to catch his last lines, “But we thank god for life.”
And then, of course, he told me about his grandchildren.
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