Random Thoughts on Nothing of Great Importance

I’m writing these things down so that I’ll remember them; they’re not really much of a message or anything cohesive, so be warned, I guess.

Everything that IS is unique.

Each raindrop, snowflake, each moment, each breath.

No two are alike.

Each person, each word spoken.

Each scar left on the back of a troubled child by an overzealous and frustrated father by a worn leather belt.

Each curse shouted in anger, each hurtful thing said that can’t be taken back.

Each smile offered to a frazzled Walgreen’s clerk at 7:00 a.m. on a Monday morning.

Each peal of laughter or shrieking, squealing scream from a child running from a confused bumblebee.

None are duplicated or mirrored in any other thing.

Everything is of itself complete, unalloyed and distinct.

So often we heard it said at the end of a life that “they didn’t really do much of anything”, or “he didn’t accomplish much” or “she doesn’t leave anything behind.” How unperceptive of us. Considering the above, how is that possible?

Each unfinished opera, half-completed novella, unheard song, unread poem, unshared kiss.

Perhaps it is a Zen notion, but perhaps “sitting, doing nothing” is really doing Nothing. A Nothing of Great Importance. A very important collection of nothings that together comprise the sum total of an existence in which the achievement is merely to exist, to the fullest extent possible, leaving nothing tangible or inheritable (or taxable) that the world hordes and counts as wealth.

There is a difference between self sacrifice and the sacrifice of self.

In a society where the self is sacrificed, where the goal is to become a faceless automaton, working behind a desk or machine wearing the uniform of one’s profession, discussing the books that everyone is assumed to have read, talking about the people that everyone is supposed to be interested in, having the hobbies that are acceptable for well-adjusted, normal people, does self-sacrifice have any real meaning? What does it mean to give of oneself, to put someone else before one’s self, if the self has been sacrificed to the safety of the mass and no longer has an individual entity or existence?

Upon my tombstone, I’d like to have written: This marker commemorates a man who did nothing of great importance. And a lot of it. And to those who loved him, who knew him, that nothing was very important indeed.

May the breath each of us enjoy in this next moment be as unique as the one before it, and as strange and unlike the one following it as the moment after twilight is to the last moment of the sunlit day.

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