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Around the World

March 29th, 2007 by dk

Eighty days ago I shared a bowl of soup with a dear friend and announced I wanted to be one of those people who leaves a little something on my plate at every meal. I was raised to consider that others were hungry, so I should finish everything in front of me. (That passed for logic somehow.) But the clean-your-plate world I have created for myself no longer serves. Zero-sum logic leads to a no-remainder world — tidy, but satisfying only in the most self-referential way.

No, I will be somebody who displays in his most basic habits that there always IS a remainder. There’s always more. The world overflows; aches to give.

I was right about the ache.

Of course I knew and hoped that the unfinished plate (i.e. my peace with it) would spread to other parts of my life. I’ve in recent months been better able to sleep when I’m tired, instead of waiting for the inevitable collapse. I’ve learned to turn off movies that I’ve rented but don’t enjoy. I can now end a conversation that has turned ugly. Turns out this renaissance is more about trusting my own self, rather than relying on external measures and factors to shape my behavior. Yes, I can exert myself on the world; not always the other way around.

An abundant world proved too attractive to resist. A lush landscape needs no gardener. I was freed from the satisfying drudgery of making things better. It was more than good enough already. My analyzing couldn’t keep up with the fecundity. Life was outstripping my understanding of life. I had no choice but to live it.

Like kids on a playground, every minute was forever. But then the bell rang and recess was over. But wait, wasn’t the world generous and abundant?! Yes, but in measures. Limits still exist, if only for a time. Starting and stopping combine for the rhythm we know and the music we love.

I wanted to leave food on the plate to demonstrate my faith that I’ll never go hungry. Why wouldn’t I expect to leave a piece of my heart behind to show that I’ll always be loved?

How far can one go in 80 days? I’ve been around the world and back to where I started. Only this place is now more grateful and hopeful.

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