Monday, May 4, 2015

Remembering Our Worth

When we study history in school, we're taught the names of the big movers and shakers, the "important" men and women of the world. What you realize when you start to become a student of history, is that some of the most precious accounts we have, often called "eye-witness accounts of history," come from ordinary people like you and me. This is something I realized young, as my parents told me their stories of world and national travel. I was lucky enough to have traveled extensively before I became ill and through my recovery. I have traveled to the Hopi Nation, one of the oldest continuously enhabited places on this planet (the timbers in their homes have been carbon dated to reveal a construction time of over ten thousand years ago []), by one of the oldest nations on this planet. I have been privlidged to see their dances and been invited to sleep on their land.

And when I look at my father, still working so hard after all he's been through (his fear of hospitals rightly comes from a time he had to be quarentined on board a ship because of a case of Yellow Fever, and later in life he suffered three years of hives no one could explain... all while trying to attend college). He's seen an amazing age, and it is thanks to his interest in computers that I have had such an amazing career. We were talking last night about logistics and how he and I have similar experience of how to launch and invasion: his from his time in the Navy, mine from software and hardware products. It's the same theories because it's all about trying to coordinate the actions of many individuals into one large action over a wide scale.

This requires weilding two skills sets: the ability to work autonomously without oversight (working even if no one is watching), and the ability to coordinate with others, and often very brilliant minds coupled with hefty egos and personalities (getting along with exactly those types who do not play well with others). And all this networking must be coordinated through massive communications, often to different groups working in very different time zones. It requires an adherence to rules that can be frustratingly fluid, as flexibility is also required to adapt to ever-changing discoveries. In addition, people need to be organized in time and through time, kept on the roughly the same page and coordinating critical tasks at key points. All this results in what is known in the "biz" as: organized chaos.

Yet even with these similarities of knowledge, I also realize how much my father is a treasure: he traveled one of the last regularly operated ocean liners. He saw the first copying machine, the first microwave, the first VCR, and saw computers shrink from multi-roomed beohemiths into hand-held near-magical devices. He's seen me become a bionic woman, just like they had on TV, only to save me from pain rather than augment reality. But the marvel of that device: it had a battery, it was re-chargeable, and wearable inside the human body. What a creation to be witness to! And, too, he remembers growing up in the shadow of World War II, events that still shape the lives of every person on the planet today.

What amazing sights he has seen! And what's more, each of us is a witness like this too. Who knows who's letters are going to survive 1,000 years? Who knows what digital archeologists will find fascinating 10,000 years from now in the blogs and posts of our lives? Who will future historians look to, to be eyes and ears into our world generations from now? How will they find us different? How will they find us the same? Heck, what will these posts look like to me, thirty years from now? Hello, my future self! I'm happy to have written this down for you!

Which one of us will be discovered and renamed to suit their future language? How clumsy and archaic will my attempts at communication seem. Will any of this survive at all, or will some great catastrophy turn the lights ot on computers forever, causing all this knowledge to be locked away and forgotten forever? Who can say what the future holds.

Who can say what your future holds?

Is there an Opera sleeping in you? Is there a simple item you treasure that will become a family heirloom? Is there an act of forgiveness that unites estranged parts of your family? Or is there a phone call that rekindles a spirit of closeness in a friend? Much as this day might seem connected to yesterday, there is an impenetrable wall that exists between now and yesterday, one we can never step past. In each moment, we are given the opportinity to choose whether to keep in step with the past, or break with tradition and choose something new. Thought becomes word, word becomes deed, deeds become reputation, and a reputation becomes a legacy. Legacy becomes tradition, tradition becomes culture, culture becomes identity, and identity becomes preferences. Preferences become thoughts, and the whole cycle is born again anew.

What a miracle our lives are! What amazing things we can do! We can create such joy, compassion, and community together. So remember to celebrate your life and the lives around you. Give someone a word of praise or share a laugh just to help lift a stranger's spirit. We have such a capacity with our lives, in even the smalles things we do. Celebrate you, celebrate us.

We're worth it.

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