One day last week I was sitting on a bench in the downtown area of a small North Carolina mountain town, my beloved companion Stella laying at my feet, when a strange memory popped into my head. We were enjoying the beautiful fall day, people and dog watching, so I have no idea where this memory came from – I remembered that years ago in a catalog of “oddities” I saw the Lord’s Prayer on the head of a pin. At the time I just thought it was weird and amusing but I didn’t give it much thought. As I sat there on the bench, my thoughts drifting like leaves on the breeze, I wondered why someone would want to put the Lord’s Prayer on the head of a pin. I thought about how incredibly focused on the prayer you would become as you read it under a magnifying glass and suddenly I realized that was the point. When you are that closely focused on one thing it takes over your mind and everything else disappears into the background. It becomes the most important thing. Have you ever had that experience – even just for a moment?
We live in a striving, competitive, materialistic society and it is so easy to get caught up in all that and forget to appreciate the things that make our individual human experience special. When we look at our lives we often have the view from 30,000 feet and things tend to blur together until it seems like everything shares equal importance or relevance. I think about all the plans and dreams I have had over the years and how devastated I was if they didn’t work out the way I hoped. Millions, maybe billions of thoughts have buzzed through my head over the years and I attached too much importance to a lot of them. Often I allowed myself to be led astray by weakness and fear instead of being confident in my best instincts – faith, honesty, and love. To quote Abraham Maslow “be strong enough to be independent of the good opinion of others”.
There is one good thing about getting older: you have a wealth of experience to draw from and, hopefully, you begin to realize that very few things in life are truly important. With age also comes the luxury of perspective and you can look back and see that when one dream went awry, another one took its place and was often better than the old one – the one you thought you would die without! As I sat in solitude watching people walk by I felt like I was viewing my life under a powerful microscope and I could see clearly what had always been important to me, what had really mattered – everything else disappeared into the background. Love, food, good health, shelter, faith, compassion, creativity, and awe. There are many things that are enjoyable in my life but none that are more essential to me. Lao-tzu said “If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich”.
I finally understand that my life fits on the head of a pin. Or is it that I finally understand that I am a pinhead? Hmm …
Like my artwork? Visit me at Lynda Linke Productions