I've recently become enamoured with a blog called Enjoying the Small Things, which I'm sure many of you have heard about. I came across it because of her famous post about her daughter's birth story. As a doula, I am constantly reading birth stories, in the hopes of gleaning any extra information I can about labour, birth and baby care. This helps me to be better informed for my clients.
So much to my surprise, when I was one day googling "Kelle Hampton" (the author of the blog), and came across a whole gaggle of links referring to terms like "kelle hampton annoying" and "kelle hampton hating." With some time to waste, I clicked on the links and began reading.
Twenty minutes later, I came to the conclusion that we could all do with a little more love in this world. Naive? Perhaps. Stupid? Most certainly not.
I was able to draw a link between these "kelle haters" and a recent column I read by Christie Blatchford about the death of a Canadian politician, Jack Layton, and the letter that was released by his family posthumously. In this column, Christie ridicules the eloquent words of Jack Layton, writing that the letter "shows what a canny, relentless, thoroughly ambitious fellow Mr. Layton was. Even on Saturday, two days before he died, he managed to keep a gimlet eye on all the campaigns to come."
She also points out that he wrote this in conjunction with his party president, chief of staff, and wife, which somehow suggests that it was no more than the wasted words of a conniving politician. Two days before death, I'm not sure many people could write an eloquent letter without a little help. When my grandfather passed away from colon cancer, his decline was quick and devastating, and he wouldn't have been able to put pen to paper if he tried.
And yes, of course the letter had a political message - what would you expect of a fellow who had risen so high, so fast, only to see it all slip away in a month's time? What Christie fails to consider is that perhaps Mr. Layton's letter had a deeper meaning than simply a desire to be boastful and vain. I didn't know the guy personally, but if I take what I know from friends who DID know him, I see him as a person who truly cared about the well being of all human beings. You don't come across these types of people very often, and it's even rarer for such a stellar guy to also be a charismatic and effective leader.
I don't feel angry with these "kelle hater" bloggers and columnist Christie Blatchford, but I do feel sorry for them. Somewhere along their life paths, they have become the epitome of cynicism, and this saddens me greatly. Although I respect their right to comment on social, political and cultural issues (as I am doing right this minute), it strengthens my resolve to live differently. What I hope for myself and my family, is that we never get to the point where we find the creativity, positiveness and confidence of other people to be annoying....or worse, "vainglorious."
Is it so bad to embrace things that are sappy? Is it so horrible to rejoice in the beauty of this life, even for brief and fleeting moments? Would our world be any worse off if we followed Jack's advice?
What I suspect deep down (and perhaps have even felt at times) is that those people who become cynical are truly desiring something they find to be out of their reach - as mothers, perhaps it is the image of the "perfect" family; as women, it might be our perceived notion of beauty (we're never thin enough, pretty enough...); as human beings, is it the desire for love, forgiveness or empathy?
The next time you read something, watch something or talk to someone and have the knee-jerk reaction to ridicule, criticize or condemn, stop for a moment and tap into your desires. What is it you truly want? What do you see somewhere else (or IN someone else) that you sense is missing in your own life? Because that hole is certainly there, and you will try to fill it with your cynicism, anger and sadness.
For now, I will fill any holes I find with the joy of the small things and will remain in awe of the beauty of Kelle's pictures and Jack's letter. When I'm gone, I hope to be remembered for taking delight in things, not taking the delight out of things.