Rarely one sees it in a couple, two people sitting together, maybe at dinner, maybe at a coffee shop. They are holding hands across the table, fingers intertwined as if letting go one would spin away forever and be lost unto the endless void.
There is a certain fierceness in the type of love this couple shares, one not experienced by lessor mortals. Look into their eyes and behind those windows to the soul lies an honesty both terrible and beautiful to behold. These two people have experienced pain and lost and heartache. Grief seeps from their pores like sweat and their shadows’ name is loneliness.
Sometimes a soul is so dark it can only be seen by another of its like. For those, it is a beacon like no other, a pulsar that flashes to the heartbeat of life. This brightness attracts others who understand. When they meet it is beyond a kindred spirit. Each knows what the other is feeling, always. They swim in the same current, wondering why the churning waters never quite pull them completely under.
They will always hold hands. Always. He traded his stick-shift sports car for an automatic so he could clasp her hand when he drives. In the bedroom, when they make love, always with at least one sweaty hand clasped with another.
Never let me go is unsaid, because those words are akin to a desire to breathe. Like a heartbeat, it happens no matter what, and when it fails, they die.
The last page.
The panic, the emptiness, the loss of control feeling as a novel goes from me to we. These feelings continue. They go on and on.
The root of this anxiety is not fear.
The root is not the possibility of rejection.
The root is not swimming in fate’s sea of circumstance .
These feelings come from ownership.
The work is yours alone. Everything that happens after the last page is yours alone. Everything that comes next is by will and by permission.
The novel is the ultimate rebellion against collectivism, even if it rallies for that.
Such a rebellion comes at a price.
Dignity is not about self-confidence, nor is it composure and certainly not how one behaves in public.
Dignity is choice, and not the choices we make, but simply our ability to do so.
To remove choice from an individual is to belittle them and demean them. This is immoral. It strips them of their dignity. An undignified act is an act born in the lost of freedom.
When one carries themselves with dignity, one is holding true that the answer to the choice presented may have been right or it may have been wrong, but it was, at the core, made without direct or subversive force.
To strip a person of their dignity is an act of force. To strip it from a group of people is tyranny. Both are dishonorable, and the righteous oppose both with equal measure.
(repost from 2008)
The house smells so wonderful.
My penchant for Scrooge-like feelings during the holiday season has slowly been replaced by warm memories of my children’s joy for the season. For young boys, yes, Christmas is a lot about presents. If you are a good parent, if you could overcome the bombastic rampant commercialism, there is an underlying simplicity about the season that can pull at the heart like no other time.
This morning Thing Two came in while I was getting dressed, wanting to know if we could go get Thing One’s Christmas present tonight. How cute is that? I’ll tell you how cute it is, it is a bit of the ultra-cuteness.
Yes there are the presents. But then there is the smell of the tree. The gingerbread house. The decorating. The Christmas cookies. The story of Christmas. Grandpa and Nanna. Daddy’s Christmas Day roast. Santa. The music. The warm fireplace and the happy dog.
Long after those presents are gone, the memories of our close family during this time will linger on. One day my sons will be walking in one of the great national forests around here, and after the morning rain, smell the fresh scent of grand firs. And it will smell like Christmas.
And that will be magical, always magical, even in the dead of summer, it will be Christmas magic.
The human condition is to socially relate to others, yet we recognize that in order to master socialization, one must find the center to self and live there without fear.
This duality of the human nature is a war. It is a war for independence against the war for socialization. This is true balance, the yin and the yang. Honor and integrity are internal concepts, while justice and righteousness are external. All must exist on equal footing.
In any true conflict, there are winners and there are losers, but sometimes victory comes from the unexpected and defeat is all too predictable. Just as one must find the center and dwell within, the path to that place is not a singular journey.
The path to true independence, then, comes from choice. Not the choices we make on our own, but whom we welcome on our journey, and those we recognize as subversive influences.
It is always choice, and without it we may achieve socialization, but only to avoid self-progress. The wrong choices are merely strays off the path.
The absence of choice is a loss and a war with self.
The other day I was in the coffee shop, again, hanging with the baristas. One of them pipes up:
“You’re in here enough, you should totally be a barista.”
Without blinking an eye, I replied, “My Marxist charm would totally bring the girls to the yard.”
I made not one, but two customers sputter on their drink.
Yeah, I still got the moves, baby.
A man of God once told me that we’re all liars and sinners. At first, I thought he meant we constantly lie to other people. How could that be so? My parents taught me lying was bad (usually with a generous application of a wooden spoon to my backside), so I avoided it even when it would have been convenient to do so.
But over the years I’ve come to a different interpretation. I believe he was speaking to all the little lies we tell ourselves.
That’s when I knew those were the worst lies of them all.
Thus, the secret to fulfillment through the art of seeking the truth, is to embrace all the little lies within, and simply let them go.
Self-sacrifice is a positive, not negative, endeavor. There is a fine line between self-examination and self-loathing. One leads to simplicity and change. The other leads to blockage and withdraw.
The daydream is the mind’s natural state. Free of all worry and angst, neither here nor there, the daydreamer is at the apex of the human experience.
Sometimes, we build the Sunday afternoon lazing in a sunbeam where the wind and other sounds become a backdrop to the hum of our existence and the broad sky pales to the horizon of our mind. Here the mind doesn’t wander; it goes where it needs to go along a path we’ve chosen. At the core of the creative soul is this builder. We build these moments, repeatedly, until we’re unable to build any longer.
Then we die.
The daydream isn’t the departure from reality.
It’s the arrival.