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Finding Spirit in the Everyday

This evening, a ragged old man pushed his shopping cart past the window of a crowded apartment building. I could hear the rattling in the alley, so I peeked out. He looked older than he truly was, I am sure. With a haircut, shave and shower, he could probably have lost 10 years from his age. I didn't know him. Worse, I wasn't even sure I wanted to. In a city full of people from all over, those who come seeking their fortune in the Great Southern California Dream, there are hundreds and thousands just like him. He may have been any one of those hundreds or thousands.

I started to wonder, What did he think about his Easter Sunday? Was there a day of blessing for him? Did he do something to celebrate, was he even aware of what the day was? Or was he one of those few who don't care about holidays, as I used to be? One of those who seem to make a special effort to ignore the Socially Acceptable Days of Gathering and Celebration? The calendar manufacturers always seem to date and time them for maximum marketability and mass consumption- almost in a global conspiracy to buy and sell Holydays to the highest bidder. I can almost hear them all yelling in unison, "Come one, come all-- yes, YOU TOO CAN BE ONE OF THE SPECIAL- CHOOSE TO CELEBRATE THIS DAY WITH US!"

This brought questions to my mind. How could I celebrate a day I didn't believe was special without feeling like a hypocrite? How would my kids feel when the other kids at school made fun of them for celebrating their version of "Easter" two weeks early? What about Christmas? How could I not be angry at the whole calendar reversal thing- you know, where traditional holydays have been celebrated for thousands and thousands of years, and suddenly this upstart of a "new religion" comes along and usurps them all- and then has the nerve to expect me to actually celebrate with them?! ? Needless to say, I was feeling a little sour about the whole thing. Then I reached out with my mind to comfort this old man. He seemed like he could use some TLC, so I figured, What the heck? I started to catch a glimpse of how he viewed his life.

There was little, if any, sense of his NOT being at peace. I couldn't understand how he could be at peace with his shopping cart, so I wandered a little further into his heart and eyes. Yes, there was great peace there. I realized that while I was nagging myself over frivolities like whether or not I should get Easter baskets next year, this simple man had such joy in merely breathing, in walking another step toward wherever he might be headed.

Looking at the full moon over his head, he ambled along, never acknowledging that I had even seen him- much less how much he had shown me in that small glimpse of himself. He was in love with being alive, in a way only young children and the truly grateful can ever really be- in a way that acknowledges the simple as the profound, and the subtle as most glorious. I realized he didn't need a calendar to tell him what the day was...he celebrated every day the same, and loved them all. I wondered, Was it really that easy?


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