Listening to an amazing book with my kids, The Giver, I read it in 7th grade I think.
What rich dialogue we are having, this is the beauty of homeschooling and I'm cherishing this time with my boys.
A story about one solution to eliminate pain, suffering, war, violence, death, all the sorrow of life.. the cost for this is called "sameness" and it is the elimination of joy, love, nature, color, variety and individuality and choices.. but here's the catch.. the people in this culture don't know what they are missing..
One boy in the story is selected at age 12 to have this special job, to hold the memories of the past for the whole community. No one in this community chooses their own job, or their own spouse, or their children. They are given a job, based on their interests at age 12 for life. They request a spouse and children, they live with a spouse for the time of raising children and then they go to live with childless adults, they don't have sex, they take a pill to suppress these extreme feelings. All of this is governed by the rules, if they break the rules, they are disciplined and if it continues they are released. Jonas our main character is selected to be the holder of all the memories of the past, memories of all the things that the culture has taken away to offer a world of safety, predictability, sameness. As he is given the memories one by one, he learns about and experiences for the first time -weather, snow, animals, war, death, suffering, he learns that "release" (what they do to those who break the rules, people who get sick and even babies who won't sleep through the night) is actually kill them and he suffers greatly.
As Jonas's eyes are opened, of course he chooses free choice, life with pain and color, reality rather than lying and having ones emotions cut off, he chooses to feel it all!
As I listened to the story when he actually sees color for the first time, sees a bird, clouds.. he is in awe..
I started to ask myself .. how often am I in awe of the colors of life? all of the colors? in awe?
The sad news is that when I am caught up in my thoughts, my pain, my story, my limitation -like the culture where there are no real deep feelings, I don't notice the beauty of life, the color, the vibrance, the incredible aliveness of each moment. I don't notice the perfection of all of life because I am caught up in the limited descriptions and intense but ultimately passing experiences. These endless stories of what's what, how i feel, what i think, what's wrong, how much i hurt, who hurt me.. these stories are like the pills to make the urges go away, they cut me off from the vibrancy of life, give me a half life, seem to cut me off from the infinite expression of what I truly am. In this moment I choose again to be in awe to all the colors of life, to wake up to what's amazing, being alive, feeling it all, staring at the blue sky and knowing absolutely that the vast infinite sky is a mirror of the what I am .. opening to the expanse that I am.. open, resting and smiling.