Each of us are given this one life. Our soul is eternal, but I only have this one life as Leta Hamilton. What is it for? What is my life for? I think I have figured it out.
We are here as offerings. My life is an offering. What can I offer the world? What can I offer my children? What can I offer my husband. I believe in common humanity. I believe that we have more in common than differences. When we offer kindness, we are honoring the common bonds that make every human on this planet a brother and sister.
My children offer me their authenticity. They show me what it is like to just BE. They are not worried about appearances and they are not woried about other people’s opinions. They offer me their authentic joy and their authentic rage.
In a room full of presidents, statesmen, kings and movie stars, my children would not care two iotas. They would prance around the room playing power rangers while I chased after them embarrassed and pleading with them to behave. My baby would toddle around giggling and grabbing whichever pantleg happened to be nearest to his reach at any given moment.
This is why we love children so – because they don’t care who we are or, rather, what we pretend to be. I remember growing up with my father as the Navy Chaplain. I thought it was so funny when people said “Yes, sir” and “No, sir.” To me, he was just my dad. I certainly didn’t treat him with the deference of those in his office. I loved him because he was my dad – not because he was an officer in the United States military.
And so, to the world, I can offer as an adult this authenticity. I can offer an open heart and a willing ear. I can offer a smile without any expectation of return. The truest offerings are given simply because of our common humanity and not because we want or expect anything in return.
Today we were taking pictures for my new website. Oliver was not cooperating, so I bribed him with candy. “Oliver, lie down here in the grass with your hands behind your head for 5 minutes while this lady takes pictures and I’ll give you candy.” He immediately complied. This was a trade and a bribe, but not true giving. I needed something from him. I had an expectation with which I wanted him to comply, so I made a proposition that I thought he would find beneficial. He did. I manipulated him for some “natural” poses. Hah! The irony.
Every morning when Oliver wakes up he will get out of bed and come to the top of the stairs. If I am on the couch reading, he will come over to me and sit with me awhile. If I am down in the office, he will call until I come. He wants me to hold him first thing in the morning. He doesn’t want to come down and find me in the office. He wants me to carry him, to hold him.
This can be frustrating. Yet, writing about it now, I realize its sweetness and its authenticity. He’s 3. He’s just woken up. All he wants is the warmth of him mom’s arms. Can I give him this? Can I offer him this?