The short sentence came back to me throughout the day, at odd times, like a revelation. Once when a woman came to see me and unexpectedly brought her daughter. Facing a tragedy, the two women, physically so alike, took careful comfort in each other. I was struck by their well chosen words, their tentative embrace.
The words came back as I witnessed a young man, a clerk, humiliated as he lingered, helping an attractive woman of his own race when his boss scolded him for neglecting the cash register. Frowning angrily, the youth sought to restore his dignity by muttering under his breath. I, his customer at the register, said to him gently, “No hurry, no hurry.”
They matter. What exactly is it that matters of them? Not squandered moments or petty emotions, emotions that we all have. Not delusions of grandeur or childishness. What matters is Spirit. Spirit rises in the most difficult and ordinary of circumstances: the everyday hurts that we try to cast aside, along with the grander ones. Spirit matters as it comes to know Itself in the occasion of ourselves. Unyielding, it rises again and again, perhaps freshest in the morning when we feel hope, but most beautiful in the evening if we lived our day without letting down our effort.
What is the effort we make? We make the effort to be real; to be fulfilled. We claim it with a hundred silent calculations. We choose the best fruit in the marketplace, the nicest clothing we can afford. We look for our name written somewhere, or listen for it spoken on the lips of a friend. “What tone was that,” we ask, “what attitude?” Do we count, count the way we hope we do? Do we matter?
I know the secret of how we matter. I try to tell you with my smile and my eyes, especially my eyes. Can I catch your attention, that attention that you want to have? Can I help you to notice the jewel that you are: perfect and complete and fantastic-you that embody the impossible everyday marching on, as if undaunted somewhere deep within because there, there you know the same secret that I know even if you can’t bring it to word.
You know. You know when you feel outraged by the slight, though the outrage is not what matters. You know when you are hungry: soul hungry to be seen and understood. Gasping for air your hungry spirit refuses to starve even as years pass by without satisfaction.
I know the secret. You need nothing. You already Are. You must nurture and encourage the flame within. Distinguish it from it’s petty manifestations but don’t let it go out, never let it go out. It is for you to realize.
This time matters. The time of your lifetime both short and long. Long enough to find the answer and make it real by faithfully climbing the succession of images that come to your mind-the answers that get cast off one by one. What is cast off is that which fails to really express what you know inside to be true.
You are not your feelings.
You are not your doings.
You are not your history.
You are not your loves.
You are….you know. That’s right. Let it rise.