While walking today on the Northwestern University campus with Gregory, I had these experiences:
In “Shakespeare’s Garden,” a themed garden that cultivates plants mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare, there was a student with her mother. They both were quite enthralled with what they were experiencing. I could sense how ideal and hopeful this new student was feeling. The whole world was ahead of her! Life lessons were waiting.
Looking back some forty five years ago when I was a new student, I understood that the reason for this ideal-ness, this hopefulness ... is ignorance. She probably feels that alone she can conquer the world. She can make a huge difference. She doesn’t realize what it really means to have her whole life ahead of her and the lessons, good and bad, that the years may bring. She probably does not understand that her life will end, she probably has not even considered the possibility of death.
Maybe my age has made me a little cynical but I now realize that I can only change me. I can only make a small difference in the world. Maybe I can only live life as well as possible, love others, harm no one ... and that is enough ... and in effect this will help change the world. There are very few Luciano Pavarottis, Beethovens, Einsteins, etc. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try but the odds are...
Next we saw a mother taking a picture of her daughter outside a campus sorority. The girl looked so happy. The mother was enjoying her daughter. As we walked by, I commented to the girl, “Not just a little excited are we?” and she just gushed and laughed. I, in turn, did a private four year mind picture of my days at the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana, Illinois, living in AEPi Fraternity, and a warm glow filled me.
Ideal is good. I miss it!