On a good day, I can sit back and truly be awed by the human beings around me. Sometimes it is because one of my fellows has done something extraordinary that makes my jaw drop and my heart swell with emotion. On a good day, though, this same sense of wonder at the beauty and power of the human being arrives simply because I’ve looked into the eyes, the smile, the gentle hands, the hard work of regular folks just living their days. I am allowed, on a good day, to see how ordinary human beings are weaving together a life all the while facing obstacles and challenges that could easily become the reason for being angry, for giving up, for taking shortcuts, for being cynical. Even for those folks in those moments–the angry, the given up, and the cynical–I can be sympathetic.
But, on a good day, I can see the young man, for example, who fairly dances around, broad smile, showing others the document that says he will graduate. He works two jobs that amount to nearly 40 hours a week. So does his mother. There is no father. Day after day, he shows up, he works, he tries probably with enough reasons for three other people to become one of the given up, and he doesn’t. I look at human beings like him, and I am in awe and wonder. I think this is what Hafiz, the Persian mystic had in mind when he wrote this:
I wonder how God ever gets any work done when He could just be gazing at Himself in awe all day? What discipline He shows.
I am talking about a real problem that will challenge you someday, though you may know nothing about that yet: splendor taking over the place and rising from your body like a sunrise–gods sitting on a hill needing to bask in you. For it is true, we help sustain existence.
All types of fishermen, merchants and seekers will gather around you when you reach your goal. They will be wanting to cast their nets into the brilliant salmon run you become, leaping into the sky, offering to take any near along.*
The poet-mystic goes too far, doesn’t he? And yet, in going too far, makes his point. On a good day, I look into my fellows’ lives and splendor takes over. Our living and being does help sustain existence. On a good day. Hafiz helps me understand my good days, too, when he says this:
God is applauding our every act, but He hides that reality from most, until we can understand more about real love.*
*A Year With Hafiz: Daily Contemplations, pp. 15-16, translated by Daniel Ladinsky