Dawn’s Early

Dear J-

I’m reading the novel Wonder (R.J. Palacio) and I’m thinking about the first precept, which I’ll paraphrase since I don’t have it handy to look up: when given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind. At the moment we have house guests and the sound of gentle snores fills the air by ten PM, while theVet works twice as hard to be a good host and do all the things (yesterday, we went out to dinner, which saved on dishes and cooking, but it also meant getting home late and having to get the kids ready for bed, laundry in the machine, clean up the cat barf, etc. If you’re going for kind the corollary of that is patience: kindness, patience, understanding. This is what it means to have guests in the house.

There’s a lot of patience that I need to work on; of the thousand different things that are probably going through figgy’s mind every day the least is some of the day to day activities: getting up, getting ready, eating fruit and all the other thousand things you do as part of the normal course of the day. I need to set aside patience for the time it takes for her to drag her feet through the routines: we have selective amnesia when it comes to remembering how we were at that age (“When I was your age …” yeah, I wasn’t any better, I bet), and extend some of the patience that was loaned to us at the time. You try to figure out the right way to motivate the kids and we’ll get there in time, I suppose.

It’s Wednesday and we whisper on in the dark early morning: by the time I get to work the sky will be lightening but not lit, this time of year. I checked the stars were out and the clouds have passed on; it will be an excellent day. Your attitude determines your approach, and of the thousand different ways you could go about it, kindness — patience, love, understanding, kindness, charity — is usually the right one. I know we have a lot left to do, so let’s — let us together — find the right approach to scale that mountain. Dawn is a moment away: first light on the world around us.

Mike

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