Posts Tagged ‘life wisdom’

From the Editor’s Perch

February 4, 2013

Hippies1

Following Our Bliss

“The reality is embarrassing.  Being me just doesn’t seem to get me anywhere.”

– John, incarcerated sex offender

I had an acquaintance years ago when I was much younger who was upset one day because he’d just been fired from his job at a wine shop.  I tried consoling him with those sorts of things you say, such as, ‘these things will happen’ and ‘there are other jobs out there’, to which he replied:  “But I’ve been fired from every job I’ve ever held!”  My older brother at the time told me, “There are a lot of people like this.  It’s very sad.”  (“They’ll work for cheap!” years later I read a small construction company owner saying.)

My favorite character in Sherman Alexie’s new book of collected stories, “Blasphemy” is Thomas Builds-the- Fire.  His mission in life is to tell stories.  He’s kind, gentle, wise, and tells pretty good stories.  But no one in the tribe wants to/will listen.  God seemingly has granted Thomas Builds-the- Fire the urge, but neglected the audience.

Does this strike a little close?

Then the Bible tells us about Jonah, who really doesn’t want to do what the Lord wants him to do.  Ordered by God to go to the city of Nineveh to prophesy against it “for their great wickedness is come up before me,”  Wikipedia   So he runs away to sea, only to be swallowed by a whale and spit back out to face God’s admonition.  It seems there is no escaping one’s Duty.

Not knowing how to end this, I’ll leave you with this anonymous note copied from an elderly man’s Facebook comment:  “It was great to see you in Great Falls, even if it was for a short time. I missed Saturday as Merrillee slipped on the ice on our way to MPAB showcases and put her should out of joint. More than 10 hours in the ER followed.”

The point?  Life is oftentimes much more what happens to us, than what we intend.

Postscript: One reader found this essay a confusing “stream of consciousness”.  What I’d intended to point out by retailing these various anecdotes was that conducting your life by “following your bliss” is a little like driving with your eyes closed.  Reality doesn’t know (or care) anything about your ‘bliss’.  You very well might run into things if you drive  with your eyes closed!

This idea of following one’s bliss is taken over from the Christian notion of allowing Christ to run your life – only Christ has been removed, and one’s Self has been placed in the driver’s seat.   (And no one is watching out for you.)   Certainly a person should listen to themselves.  (If you don’t, who will?)  But then, the wiser more mature person (in my view) listens to others.  A mature person realizes that life is a collaboration.  You give a present; then you listen to see if that person really wanted it.

Hippies2

Photos taken from Google Images

From the Editor’s Perch

July 21, 2012

How Much Justice Can You Afford?

Given the World as it Is.

Okay.  So I’m nearing retirement age and still just figuring out how things work.  One of the things I’m not going to like about dying is not knowing how the story ends… and then not stopping off for coffee afterwards, with a smart and insightful companion, to sort out how it all fit together.  But enough of that.

I was in a bar years ago talking with a new acquaintance – who was a bit of a hothead.  A fellow next to him interrupted us, hoping, I suppose, to be included in the conversation.  My acquaintance told him to butt out.  The fellow, being I suppose a little miffed and a little drunk, made a retort.  My acquaintance took him by both shoulders and tossed him off his stool where he lit on the floor and went sliding.  The bartender jumped the counter in a blink and hussled the guy out the front door before anyone had a chance to say much of anything… except for the guy who was shouting his indignation the whole way. 

I was puzzled at the time, because it seemed that my acquaintance was the person who did the violence and so I had expected him to be the one tossed out of the bar.  The moral I drew at the time was that it is easier to toss out the loser than the winner, of a fight.  But as time has passed I’ve considered that there was probably more at play: the bartender had probably been hoping to remove this bothersome patron from his bar, and my acquaintance’s behavior gave this bartender his opportunity.

This principle shows itself in the workplace.  Someone does something to you that is absolutely wrong.  No question.  But before you create a stink, and rally the others to the justice of your crusade, you’d best ask yourself… who does the boss like better?  Or rather, who fits in around here better?  You may be an exemplary employee, but if you’re the Odd Duck – usually it’s best to keep your mouth shut, retain your low profile, and proceed to plan B. 

This is probably the thinking of a lot of illegal immigrants…  and Poets, too – if you could knock a practical thought into their heads.  – The Editor

Photo by Carl Nelson


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