In recent days, I had a frustration with someone who claimed she liked me lots and found me of potential romantic interest but found the notion of getting to know someone at a distance was insurmountable.
This bothered me a little.
OK, it bothered me a bit more than that, but in the grande-scheme it was really small.
Over a few days my thoughts crept along, like a snail, slow but relentless.
Truly, less significant than a hangnail.
But interesting to self-observe my irritation.
And then amusement.
Which turned to a broader smile as year in review thinking has me almost rolling on some floor laughing my body parts off – first at the absurdity of someone’s remark and secondly that I gave it more than a minute’s thought. Perspective is a healthy thing – a few days to ponder, reviewing quality of that commentary without judging the person who said it, around this term: insurmountable
Someone used this word in communication with me. And I reacted with disbelief and disagreement. I thought I should look it up before expounding further. Her comment was about getting to know someone who wasn’t close by, but at a distance, describing this circumstance as insurmountable.
My definition search confirmed my perception of its meaning – which is “too great to overcome”.
But wait a minute.
Doesn’t this beg a really good question?
What is insurmountable?
And what is not?
Considering opposite views, extremes if you will:
- that everything is, or
- that nothing is
In recent days I’ve been writing about/around things we do at year’s end and beginning of a new one. We reflect on what went well. And on what didn’t. We strategize. We plan and set goals. But what about insurmountable obstacles?
Do we just treat them as ‘more difficult than Everest’ and move on?
Do we set out to conquer them?
Or do we just say poppycock, move on, and not worry about convincing someone they are wrong, misguided and completely unreasonable?
Or should I acknowledge that someone knows more about themselves than I do and accept that – seen through their eyes and considered in their mind – that their challenge is insurmountable?
I look at my friend Gary, dieing of pancreatic cancer. Such courage. Such calm. He’s dealing with the truly insurmountable. And he’s not complaining. He’d rather not have it, but he’s not running from it or refusing to acknowledge it. That’s my view – not his words, but I think I grasp his take . . .
I remember citizens of Calgary and HighRiver who dealt with this year’s devastating flood. We are now told it wasn’t really a 100-year flood. That would have been far worse. Still, for those who lost home, lost possessions, lost pets and loved ones – was that insurmountable?
While most of us would give them a pass, we know they didn’t take it.
Those who survive thrive – through mud and loss, which for many continues to be deeply mired in rebuilding homes and businesses and lives battles.
It has been a horrible year but I doubt any of them would use the word insurmountable.
Many would express gratitude to their community, to endless streams of volunteers, to government assistance (the jury is still out on the real impact of that), and the well wishes of people all over the province and country who felt Calgary’s pain, who felt High River’s horror – but I don’t remember reading a single clipping that used the word insurmountable.
OK .. . leave it alone Mark.
Sometimes I’m like a dog with a bone when someone irritates me – and I just won’t let it go.
But let it go I will. I’ll let 2013 go. I’ll let that silly woman pass from tantalizing relationship possibility to memory of something that would be insurmountable for a snail.
There, it’s gone . . .
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: -15C / 6F, clear. Gusta frisky, traffic light, a little bit of snow to make every walk slippery. Last night’s ice-fog left frost on everything and now, as the sun hits the trees, little chunks are falling. Dumpsters are piled high with Christmas remnants and left-behind junk of people moving out …
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