Once again, in the stillness of the early morning my mind roams. As I gaze out the window, the radiance of the morning light reminds me of the wonder of the exceptional. I attended a play with my daughter last night and thoughts linger about the talent of the actors to convey a person, a place, a story, a mood, a mystery of human existence – and of the playwrights and songwriters and musicians and all those others hidden from view whose work with light and sound and stage call it all to life.
But it is not just these extraordinary talents that prompt my thoughts, it is also the coffee I had that afternoon with a perfect cardamom bun. Or the two lions, Patience and Fortitude, who keep watch over the New York City public library. Or the display of Christopher Robin Milne’s worn and well-loved stuffed animals in the children’s library that gave birth to the Pooh stories. Or the artists of the children’s books I read, whose work sparks imagination and joy.
I do not minimize those whose job it is to cook ordinary food and do commonplace tasks; it matters when these are done well and with care. And I do not idolize those whose skill and good fortune have brought them to the top of their fields. But just as there is something priceless about the ordinary, there is something priceless about the perfect pearl and the cut diamond, and the flash of brilliant work be it science or architecture or compassion.
We need the exceptional. We need its power to call us to wonder. We need its ability to inspire, to lift us beyond the ordinary, to raise our eyes to see what might be.
Watching Steph Curry shoot a basketball is like watching ballet. Full of grace and beauty, it amazes. It excites a crowd. It showers joy. But more importantly, it stretches the imagination. It makes the impossible possible. Dreams become reality. A child goes home and practices. We are advanced as a people. We can be more. We are more.
So perhaps it is possible to love more deeply. Perhaps it is possible to make peace where it has long been lost. Perhaps it is possible for wisdom to govern. Perhaps it is possible for kindness to rise. We need not settle for the world as it is. We need not be limited by what we’ve been told are the givens of the “real world”. We can be better.
We need the exceptional. We need the exceptional sacrifice of firefighters who save others while their own homes burn. We need the musicianship that creates community among strangers. We need the charity that opens hearts and saves lives. We need the beauty that makes us see the pricelessness of the ordinary.
PS The evacuation order for my brother has been lifted and they have been able to return home. My mother is with them until she can return to hers.