Sunday, July 01, 2018

I Wish I'd Said That!

   "What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are."
   I've said something to that effect, using similar words when trying to explain to my children and grandchildren why they shouldn't be too hurt by other's opinions. C.S. Lewis said it first though, when he wrote these lines in The Magician's Nephew.
   He's right, of course. The bigger implication behind the words is that we all hear and see exactly what we allow ourselves to and everything we experience is funneled through the self. We find that out, often painfully, when we try to tell someone else what to do, how to live, how wrong they are, or worse yet, when someone tries to tell us.
   I wish I'd said, "Hot heads and cold hearts never solved anything," but Billy Graham beat me to it, and "Revenge has no more quenching effect on emotions than salt water has on thirst." Newsweek quoted Walter Weckler on that one. A fellow named Malcolm Hein said, "There is little room left for wisdom when one is full of judgment." Just think how many arguments could be avoided if we all remembered that one.
   In Life's Little Instruction Book, H. Jackson Brown, Jr. admonishes us to "Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures." I tried it this morning. I watched the sun rise over the treetops and wondered about life's pulses and rhythms, puzzled over the concept of space and time. Then I held one small, round, plump blueberry in my hand and marveled at its perfection, its uniqueness, knowing that it was only one out of millions of existing blueberries and it was there in my hand, in my mouth, tasting exquisitely sweet and delicate. It was such a little thing, but to have not noticed would have been an injustice.
   W. Somerset Maugham said,"It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it." And Issac Asimov said, "It's been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced boldly." I've thought these things, I've even tried putting them into practice, but "Middleness is the very enemy of the bold," said Charles Krauthammer, as though he knows me well.
   While Mama said there'd be days like this, Roger C Anderson said, "Accept that some days you're the pigeon and some days you're the statue." I really wish I'd said that! And John Steinbeck, in his book East of Eden, summed up a bad day this way - "Lord, how the day passes! It's like a life - so quickly when we don't watch it and so slowly if we do." I think of those words whenever I'm stuck somewhere and toying with the idea of giving in to boredom.
   "We learn only when it is too late that the marvel is the passing moment," warns Francois Mitterand. If only we took the time to realize it, when examined, the ordinary becomes the extraordinary. And, states Art Buchwald, "The best things in life aren't things." They aren't free, either. There's always a price. Price doesn't translate into burden, however, unless we are unwilling to pay it.
   The thing I most wish I'd said first is what Robert Frost said about our existence: "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes on."