Thursday, March 02, 2006

It was so lovely beyond what you could see.

"There is a curious paradox that no one can explain: who understands the secrets of the reaping of the grain? Who understands why spring is born out of winter's laboring pain, or why we all must die a bit before we grow again?" --El Gallo, "The Fantasticks"

I've been thinking a lot lately about the law of opposition. It's so strange how we as people, as emotional beings, are affected by the things around us. How they make us feel, I mean. There are people dying of AIDS by the thousands, genocide and "holy wars," slavery, starvation, disease, natural disasters all over the world. And yet I, here in Rexburg, Idaho, can spend an evening laughing with friends and not have it cross my mind once. That somehow strikes me as terrible. What right do I have to be happy and carefree for one night when there are still people dying and tears being shed? Even on a smaller scale, I feel horribly guilty for laughing and being happy when I know that a dear friend is suffering in some way.
I guess the problem is that we're just not emotionally big enough to hold all the feelings we "ought" to. We're just people. Our minds and souls aren't big enough to carry Hiroshima, cancer, birthday parties, rock concerts, and hugs all at once. If we tried, we'd all be dead.
I wonder how it will all even out after out lives are done. If there must be opposition in all things, does that mean that the good and the bad we have no control over all end up being equal in our own lives? I realize it's a lot more complicated than that. This whole concept would be a lot simpler if I was purely existentialist. But that would ruin the fun of the philosophical journey, and life would be a lot emptier.
I was talking to a friend last night and we were discussing life's confusions and the ouches we have to go through. We know that we'll learn from it and have this great store of knowledge and strength later in life, but we'd really like to have all that without the pain. It would be nice to just fast forward every now and then to see what happens in the future, and to have the result of trials without the trials themselves. Although if it worked like that, there'd be NO POINT to life.
Okay, so there are my current hefty thoughts for this entry. Hope you enjoy pondering any questions it raises in your minds.

No Map
How close the clouds press this October first
and the rain--a gray scarf across the sky.
In separate hospitals my father and a dear friend
lie waiting for their respective operations,
hours on a table as surgeons crack their chests.
They were so brave when I talked to them last
as they spoke of the good times we would share
in the future. To neither did I say how much
I loved them, nor express the extent of my fear.
Their bodies are delicate glass boxes
at which the world begins to fling its stones.
Is this the day their long cry will be released?
How can I live in this place without them?
But today is also my son's birthday.
He is eight and beginning his difficult march.
To him the sky is welcoming, the road straight.
Far from my house he will open his presents--
a book, a Swiss army knife, some music. Where
is his manual of instructions? Where is his map
showing the dark places and how to escape them?

--Stephen Dobyns


Beckah said...
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Beckah said...

Thank you Liz, that was very beautiful. Very eloquent. I find myself thinking the same thing often, how I want to be concerned about the world and help, but I also want to have fun. It's nice to know that someone else feels that way, and that we don't have to be. Thanks. I love you so much, and can't wait to see you again! Scho many schamrocksch!

Anonymous said...

That is beautiful. I love The Fanstasticks. It's something that will change your life if you let it. :)