Only in fiction does our future disconnect from our past.
Questions come first, answers later. Puzzles arrive but solutions emerge only when we try to solve something.
This unhinging old year from new is rife with symbolism – exchanging old for new. Old for young. Throwing away the old. Discarding the unwanted.
Facing a new year involves facing that one we’ve just concluded does it not?
While throwing out recently acquired stupid things seems antithetical. (we have to let that thing gather dust in a closet for a couple of years before re-cycling it, or re-gifting . . . )
Time again to review our past and predict our future by making non-binding ineffective commitments. Made to be broken or ignored. Mostly they don’t matter at all to us and even less to others.
But it is time.
One wouldn’t want to break patterns or we might face arrest by the tradition police.
Time now to say ‘I resolve’.
Time to say ‘should auld acquaintance be forgot . . . ‘
Time to fix that which is wrong.
Strange movie caught my attention during last evening’s channel-surf-snoozathon.
Comedic experiences, people who knew the world would end.
And they knew when.
Not just their own personal world but an all earth asteroid crash apocalyptic white-heat at the end fashion. Sappy somewhat absurd chick-flick. But with some subtle irony.
Emotion whimsy – who cares, we are going to die anyway? – frenzied dash about to experience everything not-done, resolve things that needed fixed. Closing things that needed closure. No time to make bucket lists or even to search for a bucket.
And they were all well.
If you only consider their physical health.
They would all die in the end.
This stirred recent events in my mind.
Witnessing final chapters of real lives where reality equals physical limitations.
Whereas frenzied living would be in the mind because the body cannot follow.
Reality for most of us is that we will not die.
Sure we will.
Not this year (without so much as a cough, with three days to go I feel safe) – and not in 2014. (right – because I’ll eat less, get fit, join a gym … study some book containing the word zen)
Be it resolved, we won’t die!
Not between now and this time next year when again we face a new year and need to renew that resolution.
Not before we confront another opportunity to resolve something. To make empty promises to ourselves and others about what we will or won’t do for ourselves or for each other. What’s the point? We make promises we know we won’t keep when we profess them aloud or write them down.
What if I took a contrary approach this year? I could live, work and play – as if my life is going to be short. I could do all that whimsy stuff. I would try new things that have never been tried before.
I could have original thoughts.
I could meet many new people and be more selective with friends and family I invest time with – and make those times worth cherishing.
I could boldly go . . .
I could speak my piece. Or my peace. Or both.
I could fix the world . . .
Every time someone has changed the world I doubt they made a new year’s resolution about it. At the same time I’m sure their hard work and commitment was no accident . . .
Now, back to my thought-stream . . .
I could be more gracious.
I could be kind. Not that I’m not but it doesn’t show up much.
I could be better.
I could use fewer commas.
I could write most things – shorter. Half as long.
I could find love instead of just writing about it.
I could drink coffee only on weekends.
I could eat bread, pasta and potatoes only on weekends.
I could help more people.
I could take a trip.
I could live forever.
Hey, I was on a roll . . .
What if I didn’t resolve to give up anything? Or anyone?
What if I didn’t resolve to make major changes to anything – but instead lived days and possibly entire months more deliberately? Observing more. Serving more. Excusing less. Measuring up to my own expectations.
Could I do that?
Could I see good in people without noticing their warts or droopy parts? Could I tolerate our irreconcilable differences?
If your life next year is made into a movie would it be a romantic comedy – or filled with horrific dramas of belly twists or plot twist and inappropriately decadent meals?
Would anyone die in the end?
I like movies. I think I’ll see one tonight … with buttered popcorn (ask for it layered), with a view that life is always better than fiction.
Fiction is found on a printed page or on a movie screen.
You can make that up and live it any way you want.
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: -8C / 18F, light overcast, streets we and alleys slippery – Gusta and I are happily back to our routine or habits and route. Happy to see the same old things we walk by every day and realize how comforting it is to know where we are going and how we are going to get there even if for only a half-hour each day.
What a poignant musing you wrote today. I’m so sorry that you are losing your friend. Actually only the “presents” of your friend. Actually, he will always be with you in your heart. We just missed the physical presence of the body, we still have the soul, VH, Helmville, Montana
Every time I am reminded of how "me oriented" society has become it makes me want to demand every single person go through a hospice training session. There are those of us with compassion and those who have enough compassion to make up for those who don't. However, if each of us could take a moment and put ourselves in the place of the person who happens to be irritating us at the moment, it would make for such a much nicer place to reside. I apologize for those people who don't like the ice chip chewing to Gary and say what I heard my Grandma Edna say all of my childhood, "some people's kids". GW, Brady, Tx. .. P.S.: Right after I sent you the response to Ice Chips I opened this devotional on e-mail... Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself. God has such a sense of humor. Even He thinks selfish people should get a grip.
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