Culture | Philosophy | Stoicism

Beliefs

Today I’d planned to open the pool, if only to see water. Instead, it’s snowing again. The world mocks me my intentions once more. Life is a series of checks to our belief that we’re all that matters in the world. Most of us figure this out after a few knocks to the ego but you still feel betrayed at times. I debated putting on boots, but said the heck with it and walked out barefoot into the accumulating snow and lowered the umbrella before it broke under the weight of this latest reality check. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll raise it once again, but for now I need it to live to see another day.

I mentioned I’d dipped a toe back into Facebook a week ago. It seems that the water is still a bit… funky for my swims into the turbulent waters of social media. I quickly re-discovered all the reasons why I’d left. The one that bothers me most was a post from a man I once worked with who’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, who spends his vacation time on missions to build homes for the poor in Haiti, who is deeply religious and strikingly kind. And he firmly believes exactly the opposite position on Trump. Surely I’ve disappointed him with my own beliefs over the years, as he disappoints me. I thought of leaving a comment on his most recent post but instead I’m going to step away. The world needs more unity and I’ll focus on the essence of this kind soul instead. We will surely agree to disagree on the rest. Beliefs are tricky things.

Back inside, I see my footprints on the deck hold their form well after I’d walked there. The snow steadily falls but the footprints remain. I’ve seen this with thermal imaging where our heat trail remains after we’ve walked through a space. A bit of our heat and energy leaves us and marks where we’ve been, like the swirling wake behind a sailboat, softly marking where you once were for seemingly forever until the sea swallows these final traces long after you’ve sailed over the horizon. It seems we do matter, even if we don’t always believe it.

I feel a bit less spun up about my friend’s beliefs after seeing the footprints. He’s not insulting me with his post, I’m the one choosing to react to it. I recognize the energy he leaves in his wake sometimes unsettles my own state, but it’s not malice that stirs me, just a different belief. We both stir the water in the way we each move through life, living to see another day and doing the best we can. The world needs more people like him, beliefs be damned.

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