Nothing really matters...
And now I have that song in my head... (had to search the name - Bohemian Rhapsody.) I know that the title for this post, which I just plucked out of my head, sounds depressing - but that is not how I feel.
I feel raw and tender - I can feel my heart aching in my chest - I feel alive and maybe just a little bit hopeful, I feel ready... to just live.
I'm in a weird mood with lots of thoughts swirling - and since I haven't written in some time I thought maybe it was a good morning to get some of it out. The kids are quietly watching their shows after having some chocolate chocolate chip ice-cream. And that's exactly what I mean right there. It doesn't matter that they are watching shows and had ice-cream for breakfast. (Actually my daughter had pancakes loaded with butter and syrup first - does that make it better?? But let's not forget about the fact that last night after eschewing the meatless, bean chili that she helped me make in the crock-pot, she had a bowl of spinach with organic ranch dressing and an orange. She wanted ice-cream last night, but forgot after that scrumptious meal and went to bed exhausted. So when she remembered this morning I got it for her. And of course I got some for Gerry - because it is a great way to wake up an exhausted 4 year old boy who stayed up till 1 am because he napped from 3-5 in the evening before, and he wants to nurse the morning away. Speaking of which it doesn't matter that my 4 year and 4 month old still loves his "muk" - even if there are those that would differ with me on that point.)
It doesn't matter if some people think I'm indulgent or my mother said a few years ago that she's not sure about us making "separate" meals for the kids. It doesn't matter that Gerry's main source of protein every day is fish sticks from a box.
(ok, so I was just playing Mario Kart with Gerry and during the race somehow everything I just wrote was erased - and oh boy was I upset! But then I thought, "Well, I guess that doesn't *really* matter either... but great news - the undo button worked, and it all came back! phew.)
It doesn't matter if... Gerry spills another bowl of granola on our carpet and the "toy chest" is sticky from orange juice drips. It doesn't matter that I love Disney movies and some people can't stand them. It doesn't matter that we love to visit Santa each year while other families choose not to - and tell their kids as soon as it comes up, "he's not real." It doesn't matter what age our children sleep through the night, or take their first steps, or utter their first full sentence. It doesn't matter whether our houses are full of "nice things" or "second-hand things" or hardly any things at all. It doesn't matter whether my Facebook post gets 20 likes or 50 shares. It doesn't matter if I keep track of every post that goes through my news-feed. It doesn't matter if my kids clothes are grass stained or their hair tangle-y and snarled. It doesn't matter if my toddler (or preschooler!) can barely sit down at the dinner table for more than 2 minutes. It doesn't matter if we don't really have a "family dinner" every night.
It doesn't matter that some people believe Jesus was the son of God and some don't, that some people believe he was an amazing person and some believe that he didn't exist. In fact, I'm coming to the conclusion that "what I believe" doesn't matter much at all - or at least not nearly as much as what I do.
And so we arrive at what *does* matter. Because I guess we all know that some things really do matter. It's just in the great big grand scheme of life, the percentage of things that matter is very small. Maybe minuscule. Maybe so teeny-tiny that the number of things that DON'T matter actually approach 100% - thereby making the title of this post true. But I guess that doesn't matter either.
So what matters? People. Connection. Being Kind. Doing our best. Apologizing. Giving. Loving. It matters that when I began writing this post two days ago, I stopped as soon as my kids needed me (which was pretty soon after I started). It matters that I turn away from the screen and look into Marisol's eyes. It matters that I played Mario Kart with Gerry. It doesn't matter that most of the words that were spinning through my mind are lost - maybe forever. Even the beautiful, poetic, deeply felt words. They don't matter.
On our drive home the other day there was an amazing sunset. A few minutes after I took this picture it got even more intense on the horizon. But I noticed if you looked above there was just a wall of gray clouds, blanketing the entire sky. There was just the one strip of brightness in the sky - and fairly narrow compared to the whole sky. And I thought, (insert deep, introspective voice here that says, "Deep Thoughts by Susan D. May" - ok it doesn't sound as catchy as Jack Handy, but it's not bad...) Anyway, I thought, why in life do we often focus on the gray? Even if there is only that small section of sky burning on the horizon, it should be enough to capture our attention and set our imaginations on fire. So I'm setting an intention to keep my focus on the bright spots right in front of me. I'm not going to crane my head up to look at the vast expanse of gray - I know it's there but it doesn't help or inspire me. But that sunset? Breathtaking. I don't want to take my eyes off of it because it doesn't last long.
It doesn't matter if I feel judged or if someone else thinks I'm judging them... whether I am or not. I see so many people stressing over things that DON'T MATTER (and believe me, I am one of those people I see! I am right there stressing with everyone else.) But my message to these people - the ones who think I am judging them - and myself - is just this: It doesn't matter. We cause ourselves and others so much needless suffering. If we could stop focusing on the gray skies above us, that seem to stretch on endlessly, and instead draw our gaze back down to the brilliant horizon - to the seemingly small things, but oh so bright - then we would see what really matters.
Members of the Human species, let us remember every day - there are No Guarantees and there are No Re-dos. Just ask any parent who has lost a child. (I always think of this mama and it helps me be the mother I want to be.) We do not know how long we have with any of our loved ones. So please remember, (almost) Nothing Really Matters. When your child is freaking out or refusing to do what you want them to - remember what matters... and what most definitely does NOT. When your significant other annoys you and you want to snap at them try (TRY!) to take a deep breath and bite your tongue. Wait 5 minutes (or 10). Repeat your mantra, "It doesn't matter." Remember why you love them. Remember all the things they do for you. Try to see their perspective.
Nothing really matters. When we realize this we are so much freer, so much lighter, so much more present. We can let go of all the tiny details like what we look like on the outside or what others think of us and focus on the very few things that Do Matter.
Jewel has been quoted often, because she said it simply and truly,
"In the end, only Kindness matters."
If this post resonates with you please share. Let's keep spreading the word! And of course I'd love to hear from you as always.
12/7/2013 11:31:01 am
It's beautiful, Susan, every word of it. Tears. You are so right on, sister. It is so good to have the perspective reminder. You are so right and I challenge ANYONE to disagree with what you are saying here. Beautiful words from a beautiful mind.
Thank you Janet! I guess this is payback for all the times you've made me cry :-)
12/7/2013 08:48:22 pm
This is very true. A sombre truth, that we never know how long we or others might have, which helps us lead a merrier life with those we love.
12/8/2013 12:28:44 am
Thank you Susan. What a wonderful releasing and letting go. I hope I can join you more often.
12/9/2013 02:08:39 am
I love this. This have me relief, so thank you:). We have similar lives:)). You have very lucky kiddos!!!
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Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.