The Thing We Care The Most About

I go to a basketball game on a Saturday night.

It’s the minor league team in town. For a few fun hours, I sit in the packed stands, watch shots be made and missed, hear sneakers squeak and refs call fouls, smell nachos and their other worldly orange cheese.

When the game is done, I leave. It was an enjoyable night. Now, I’m thinking about workshop remarks I need to memorize, what I’ll pack for tomorrow’s trip to New York, if I have enough clean pairs of socks.

Somewhere in my to do-ing, I wonder, What are the basketball players thinking now? I’m long past the game, but they’re probably rehashing, reliving it, and likely will be for days to come.

And it speaks to this hard human tension: so often, the thing that is central to our life is peripheral to most everyone else’s.

To the fans, it’s a game on a Saturday night. To the players, it’s livelihood, meaning, maybe the thing they want to do with their lives.

To the eaters, it was nice ravioli. To the chef, it was years in the making and years more in the perfecting.

The workshop I’m giving? For those in the room, it will be 60 minutes on a Friday (and hopefully a darn good 60 minutes). For me, it’s the work I want to do in the world.

Our everything is everyone else’s something or, in some cases, nothing. It’s an imbalance that can be hard to stomach sometimes. It’s like we put a piece of our heart into the world and, if we’re lucky, the world gives it a few minutes, rolls it around in its hands, then moves on.

So if I’m starting to be callous or dismissive, fiddle with my phone rather than be present to a basketball game, piece of art, meal, whatever it maybe, here’s what I want to remember: most likely, this thing matters to someone. It is a little piece of their heart in the world, and that deserves respect.

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