There was some sort of invisible substance that cloaked the house and kept the loathsome drift of negativity at bay.
I grew up in an economically diverse atmosphere. I had friends from very rich families as well as very poor. I never fit within a particular group, yet still I seemed a chameleon that could relate to everyone. As the years passed by I grew to consider the lay of the land with curiosity — how it’s a beautiful rose full of thorns, or put another way, a bush of thorns with a rose.
Life thus far has been a perpetual fusion of dichotomy. My phase of dependent youth was a prosperous sort of poverty that expunged itself from the labeling limitations of social hierarchy. The rose was not separated from the thorns — it was one and the same — it was complete.
My parents never imposed their worldviews on the four children they raised. This left our mind’s open enough to come up with our own impressions. They seemed to care less about anything material and put immense value in things unseen. One would only have to take a walk through the dilapidated house we grew up in to understand this detail. A draft of wind constantly pulled things from their assorted places and hurled them throughout the house. To this day, holes scatter the walls and allow light to splinter through when the sun is shining bright.
Repulsion nonetheless, was the opposite emotion that filled the guests who became part of our house. I’d hear common phrases from visitors such as, “This house is the most welcoming I’ve ever been in,” and “It’s infectious, you just want to be here.” This notion seemed to gild the dirty floor with love and left the strong aura of a family bond contained within the flea market picture frames that hung ambiguously and broken on the walls.
We never once owned a key and I often used to find unknown strangers sitting on our couch. Friends would go through heartbreaks and find our home the de-facto place to go. Lonely townspeople and strolling duos would stop by just to walk in through the door. I could usually tell who was who and when it was a stranger by the way their shuffling footsteps shook the house.
Our doors were forever open; we trusted humanity and people were always given benefit of doubt. Sure things were stolen, but there was never much to take. Those things were minor and material, for no soul could ever remove the value trapped within the home. The house was filled with prosperous and overflowing love — love so confounding perhaps it was responsible for bursting all those holes in the decrepit walls.
I close my eyes and remember the constant buzz; the sizzling smell of bacon in the morning when my mother cooked, my brother laughing with his friends, my father tilling in the garden, and my sister with her endless fashion shows. There were never visitors because no one would truly ever leave. People would come shed pieces of their souls so they could fill the vacancies with whatever magic was encased within the house.
When accidents happened to our family the entire community came to our door; although this was never different than before. People approached smiling whether times were bad or good; they dropped in to say hello, to bring a meal or a stream of conversation. There was some sort of invisible substance that cloaked our house and kept the loathsome drift of negativity at bay.
This is how I learned about the two way street; love only grows in the nourishing soils of trust, it never takes root without surrender. Our home was so pure in its vulnerability one could only adore its toothless grin. This is why our doors were always open — because if left closed, the constant flow of love would have never beat itself a path into our home. Love flowed into our cracked foundations like water that naturally trickles to the depths of a gravitational pull. It goes two ways; when our hearts are open they attract what they most need to nourish them.
The centrality of perspectives is an open mind and a whole and loving heart. This acceptance is to walk around an observation and witness its totality. Once you overcome indoctrination and let tolerance pave fresh new neural pathways, there becomes a certain freedom that perceives strengths instead of weaknesses. This forms infectious positivity shrouded in the righteousness of truth and authenticity. What better resilient societal framework then could surpass the flourishing results that come when each can show the best there is in them?
One time long ago I lamented to my mother how I was rubbed the wrong way by a haughty and over-privileged girl from New York City I’d grown to know. The words with which my mother replied sliced open my understanding of her worldview — the worldview I’d always thought she left for me to frame upon my own, “When around people like this, be reminded that the humbleness of being brought up in a modest surrounding makes you the privileged one. No amount of money can buy the graciousness of those heart-felt values.”
I only saw the dilapidated house until the moment she said this. There was only my indoctrinated view of what privilege was. The holes, the broken windows, the dirt upon the floor; these bits meant all the same as a mansion speckled with gold — both are homes constructed for the purpose of cultivating the hearts that dwell within.