In the last many weeks, I have been reading the books of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Robert Caro. His four-volume series, The Years of Lyndon Johnson, (only 3,557 pages!) is a lifetime of work, and the fifth volume is still coming at some point.
His first book, The Power Broker about Robert Moses is a masterwork about New York City, massive public works projects, and how one man could control so much power in the city and the state of New York, and who may have been the most prolific builder in all of history. Both of these works are a study in power, and from an even bigger perspective, idealism and practicality in the human endeavor.
I didn’t just learn about the people in these books and not even the overriding subject of power and influence and achievement. I didn’t just learn, no–I was enlightened. Even that word seems so weak. My consciousness was expanded. I will never be the same as a result of what I read.
I’ve been practicing trying to explain in as short a manner as possible what I got out of these books. What I just wrote is part of it, but it is also more.
Two days ago, at the check-out in Sam’s Club, I had my headset in my ears with the audiobook off for the moment and the young female clerk asked what I was listening to. I told her it was an audiobook called The Power Broker and she asked me what I had learned from it. In a split second, I was amazed at her insightful question, and in a couple of seconds formulated my necessary short answer. Here is what I said:
“Right and wrong exist only up close. The further away we get, right and wrong do not exist.”
She seemed fascinated with that answer and seemed like she wanted to sit down and have me explain more about that to her, but the next customer was cued up.
As I was leaving, I was so grateful to her for asking that wonderful question and having very little time to answer it. It was as succinct as I can imagine getting in explaining the overriding theme that I received from the 1,162 pages of this book in less than 15 seconds. The Lyndon Johnson series brings the total to 4,719 pages matching that same theme and answer.
This morning getting a haircut, I told my hair stylist about that encounter and what I learned from these great books. It made sense to her. We talked then about how so often we make judgments about events or people when we don’t know the whole story and we may never know any but the smallest piece of a story. I told her that applies to others and it applies to ourselves in how we may remember things differently at different times and so on.
I told her that the best result for me personally is to step back in every situation and try to get a larger perspective and allow things to unfold rather than simply making a judgment.
She thought that maybe we should all do this and I said, no, that doing that would never work. The best we can do is to allow others to believe as they choose, to make judgments as they choose, to do or say what they choose, as we allow ourselves to gain a perspective where we can see how all that works together gaining a better understanding of all of life. As we express our own perspective to those who want to see or hear it, they can adopt some ours for their own, or let it be as they choose.
And, that is how it was from the books. All of it worked together. It is like watching the earth from space how the clouds are moving around, the earth is spinning and circling the sun at the same time, the water and the land, all of it in harmony, traveling in harmony, in divine operation without any of our input or concerns. Yet, it is fascinating also to see things closer up and to see it unfolding in its own way.
The End Result In Just One Word? Love.
Spread Some Joy Today–by enjoying the unfolding joy in your life.