We celebrated a birthday in our home yesterday. It was all going fine – the five of us and my wife’s aunt (Lisa) were sat around a dining table enjoying food, drink and conversation.
The thought popped up, now is the time to play the track. So I got up and played “Happy Birthday” by Stevie Wonder – it is a track that I play at birthdays and daughter (whose birthday we were celebrating) likes it. Daughter started moving (sat down) and singing along to the track. Suddenly, she was up dancing and one of her brothers joined her. Then she grabbed me and I joined in as well.
When the track came to an end, daughter asked for “You’re a lady” sung by Tom Jones. So I put that on and she LOVED it. How do I know? The way she danced. And my son, who was dancing too, loved it too. And I loved it too – listening, dancing to it, with it. When that came to an end, I played “Sex Bomb” and that went down well with with us.
After that my son, who was dancing, complained about the songs that I was playing. They did not show up as modern enough, as cool enough, as sexy enough – not to his taste. All the time, daughter was just fine, enjoying the music – dancing and taking it easy. Struggling to find the right tracks, I got another complaint from my son. This time, I said with some frustration “How about being grateful that you have a father that cares and does this?”
Later, in the evening as I was getting to go to bed my son searched me out. He looked me in the eyes, give me a hug and told me that he was sorry. I welcomed that and was ready to go to sleep. The he spoke words and I got present to being moved-touched deeply – almost at a primal level, the level of the automatic functioning of the ‘machinery of being human’. Let me share these words with you:
“Papa, you are special. I will miss you when you are gone [dead]. I love you. You matter to me, you make such a big difference to my life.”
I have been thinking and it occurs to me at the primal level of ‘the machinery of being human’, you and I, strive to:
- be loved and love;
- live lives that matter, that make a contribution to ourselves and those that we love;
- know/feel and be told that you and I are special – at least to one person who matters to us.
At the deepest, most fundamental, level of the being of human being is that what matters? Is that what human life is ultimately all about? Being loved, living a life that matters, and showing up/feeling special at least to one other person that we are in relationship with?