Archive for the ‘self’ Tag

Dismantling the Myth   Leave a comment

Perhaps many others of you are in the process of dismantling this myth, as am I.  It may be because we are products of our culture.  I suspect that not every person on the planet has had to come face to face with this particular reality.  But I also suspect that I am not alone in it.

Why not?  Because that is the myth: somehow I am so unique I stand alone.  Haven’t you felt it?  Haven’t you believed it?  But only see–

I’m not immune from sickness, trouble, disease.

I’m not alone in struggling with the ‘how-tos’ of life.

I’m not excused from having bills to pay.

I’m not going to get my house or my life perfectly and beautifully organized in every particular.

I don’t have a note that says I don’t have to deal with hard situations.

I’m not going to get everything I want.  In fact, I’ll be blessed to receive some of what I want.

I’m not going to be famous when I grow up.

My mother broke this news to me at some point in my early elementary years after I was infected with some disease related to going to the movies.  I was not going to be a movie star.  I probably cried for an hour at this news.  It didn’t stop me from continuing to hope, however.

When in school and college I was singled out as a stellar student.  My teachers told me I had a bright and fantastic future ahead of me.  No discredit to them; I know they simply wanted to encourage me, but I’m afraid I took those compliments to mean that good things would just magically occur in my life, like Cinderella’s pumpkin spinning upward into a coach.  I’m sure my love of fairy tales didn’t help; I always identified myself with Prince Ivan or the third daughter of the merchant–the one who transforms the beast, sees into the heart, and ultimately passes the test and proves herself.

I’m not saying that because I am small in the universe I have no purpose.  Rather the opposite: wherever I am and whatever I am doing, my part can be played by no one else.  I was created to do good deeds prepared for me.  As he wishes, he gives different gifts to each person, for the good of all.

Those were the ‘nots’. Here are the ‘ares’.

I am going to have days that are frustrating.  I am going to make mistakes. As Christophe André observes, “It’s the rent you pay to live in the house of life.”

My children are going to grow up and leave home.

My husband will probably need a hearing aid, and yes, both of us will have gray hair–if we have hair.

I am going to get old.

I am going to die.

These realities are the flip side of the myth that says I am immortal and invincible.  I’m not sorry my myths are being eroded: I’m joining the rest of the human race.  I just wish it had happened sooner.








Posted November 22, 2014 by swanatbagend in reality

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Why Else Do We Live?   Leave a comment

When I find myself grumping internally about someone who needs something from me, these words recur.  I read them two years ago when my oldest son and I were reading Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country.

As I remember, the words were the response of a woman when she was profusely thanked for an act of love.  The character she was helping was in need of housing, and was grateful to find a place to stay in the city.  She took him in indefinitely while he pursued his goal of helping someone else.  I’m sure it was somewhat of an inconvenience to her, yet her response was simply, “Why else do we live?”

I’m not sure why it is that I can comprehend this truth perfectly within the scope of a novel , but within my own life I so quickly lose sight of it.

If I had my way, what would I be living for?  The Usual Suspects: fame, love, wealth, comfort, adulation, intimacy.  But why after all these years do I honestly think these things are a. achievable and b. ultimately satisfying?

There are always demands (on my time, I like to think, but this is an error).  My children need food, shelter, teaching, all of which take time.  The cats make a mess–often at a point when we’re just heading out the door.  It’s rarely convenient to clean up someone else’s messes.  Or to help someone with a project, or perhaps just listen.

But it’s good.  And every time lately my grump-meter tries to argue with God, and fight the next act of love that needs to be done–I get this message.

“Why else do we live?”

Posted November 9, 2014 by swanatbagend in literature, reality

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