Some time ago, one of my colleagues told me that he kept a list of things that “no one else can do for you.” The example he gave me was “no one else can kiss your kids goodnight for you.” I’ve thought of this many, many times when Gabe is already in bed, one of us has done the elaborate bedtime routine, I am so ready for my day to be over, and he comes out of his room for “one more hug.” Or he sends a message downstairs to where I am already snuggled up, pillows perfectly arranged, book at the ready, that he wants me to come back upstairs to say goodnight. Again.
And I always go, because every time, I remember what my colleague said. No one else can kiss your kids goodnight for you.
The idea that there are things in your life that only you can do is really, really fascinating. The basic premise is that anyone can do things like mow your lawn or fix your car, but no one else can learn for you, grieve for you, love for you.
I’m going to write more about this in tomorrow’s post, but I wanted to give you a little preview so that you have time to think about it, and how it relates to your life. Do you agree that there are things no one else can do for you? Do you believe that there are things other people can do for you? For example, you could argue that no else can mow your lawn for you–only you can do it in the way you would do it. And what are the things that only you can do?
I just love this question. More to come tomorrow!
Everything is Waiting for You
(After Derek Mahon)
Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.