Ah, November is upon us, and as the warm, whirling breeze blows amber leaves to the ground, I am reminded of the circle of life. Autumn brings this thought to my mind so often as I ponder the disappearance of summer’s glory and the encroaching fingers of winter’s chill. Today, I recall my father’s oft-repeated paraphrase of the Ecclesiastes verse, “There is nothing new under the sun, Carla. You think you know differently, but there is nothing new.” As the seasons of my own life continue to unfold, I see with my own eyes the truth of those words.
I have the great pleasure of working with young adolescents as one aspect of my practice, and their capacity for stark insights never ceases to amaze me. As we move through life, we naturally accumulate thoughts and patterns that bias and cloud our once childlike view of the world. Yet it is through the eyes of children that I am often reminded of the wisdom of youth that we, as adults, so often ignore. With their still-open hearts, they often bring forth a trust and delight in life that often becomes trampled as life’s battles take their toll.
A pair of intense, luminous deep brown eyes recently held my gaze. The young adolescent peered at me, searching my face for love, for truth. He found what he was seeking in my eyes, and he began sharing what had long been held a secret in his heart. I listened, understanding, for the heart of a wounded child is familiar to me. My eyes remained steady and true as he spoke, and the warmth of my compassion and empathy gave him room. His words were soft and hesitant and first, but then broke forth in a confessional flood. He wiped the tears from his eyes, and I, too, took a tissue. The space between us was filled with a trusting, soothing silence I didn’t dare break. I smiled, raising my teacup to my lips. He took a sip of the now-cold hot chocolate I had prepared for him earlier. Glancing at the clock, he stood to leave. Those luminous eyes searched mine again, and I met his gaze with deep appreciation. “You know,” he said, “you don’t judge me. I like that about you. No one I know doesn’t judge me like that. It feels safe in here.” “Yes,” I responded, “It is safe in here.”
And isn’t that the crux of it. We are all looking for somewhere safe to rest our heads and our hearts. It is an ancient thought, an ancient ideal. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun.