Gunga galunga

Joe turns seven today.

“Give me the child until he’s seven and I’ll give you the man.” Or something like that. So goes an old, maybe Jesuit, maxim,* suggesting that by seven who we are is relatively set, the product of family, friends, teachers and nature.

Hanging out with Joe, I hope that’s true.

Most of us seek some kind of end-state. We can’t just be going, we have to be going somewhere. Attaining Nirvana, finding ourself, becoming one with God. Total consciousness, having the Force with us always. Abiding. Some folks fast, meditate, paint, strum, tai chi, flagellate, introspect, audit, run or read endlessly just trying to find the on-ramp for the trip.

Most of us spend years, or our entire lives, looking for meaning and trying to be something that we think is our best self. Joe was born there.

He could do things better, like feed himself or walk straight or whatever, but he’ll never be a better person. Joe has reached – and only knows – a state more devoid of conflict and ego than most of us can ever imagine. It’s a blissful ignorance to be sure, one that requires a cadre of caretakers (and may always), but I’m so glad to be a part of it.

In him there is peace, and he guilelessly tries to give it away. He doesn’t care who the recipient is, and wants nothing in return. There is no catch. The lunch is free.

My own search for my best self ended about seven years ago. Not because I found it, but because I’d rather hang out with Joe. And I got that going for me, which is nice.

Joe at 7

Happy birthday little boy. You’re the best son ever.

*“Give me the child …” also kicks off the terrific Up series of documentaries, which have overlapped with our life with Joe, too. If you’re reading this, hi Nick!