Wednesday, January 12, 2005

What I'm going to do, I think

Years ago, my very good friend Joe in Chicago sent me a copy of a sort of "coming of age" novel titled "What I'm going to do, I think." Maybe not the best novel, but in some ways, maybe it was Holden Caulfield in his twenties, given a more earthy and sexual milieu. But what I always liked was the title itself, with it's ironic juxtaposition of certainty and uncertainty, the unqualified followed by the qualified.

That's how I feel these days, I think. Becoming more effective and more of an activist is what I'm going to do, I hope, but some steps along that path are soft steps, sentimental steps, as per my post yesterday and how I feel this evening. I have all sorts of topics bubbling around, wonky stuff and a slew of book reviews I'd like to get to if only I'd finish reading the books. But what I really feel like doing, even if I have to repeat myself with these overly earnest and soft sermons, is writing more about sentiment and emotion and delicacy and intimacy, another realm of things which get another set of endorphins going - and juices flowing, creative and otherwise.

I want to wallow in compassion and heartfelt diplomacy. I want to trade my soap box for a seduction, of sorts - a place where we CAN achieve peace in our lifetimes, indeed in our own lives, a place where we KNOW we can give of ourselves to a worthy cause, even if it is saving ourselves.

Not that she has ever been the best example, but it was perhaps with this forlorn hopefulness that my mother used to say, when I was growing up, "If there is to be peace in the world, then let it begin here."

It never begins "here" (it began in our ancient dreams of a natural or proverbial "eden"), but it can BE here, here and NOW. No need to wait. No need to strike pre-emptively or settle scores or get rich or get ahead first. No need to settle for LESS than peace, either - at least not in the closest relationships of our lives, in our behavior toward others, in our treatment of strangers, other drivers, others waiting in line with us, other citizens, others of our harried and selfish species - hey, we know how we are - let's better accommmodate ourselves.

This morning, after pondering yesterday's post some more, I wanted to be sure to say: we have to love the world to want to save it, much less work so hard to save it. And we won't "save" it of course, not according to the ideals of our dreams for how things "ought" to be. We will not save the world as a thing primarily sublime, much less divine.

But the role of the idealist is an important role. We need more idealists, not fewer. We need more love for our own high ideals as well as the high ideals of others. We really do need to love more and better. And the place to begin that spiritual quest is with ourselves and those who miraculously and memorably make impressions on our psyches, on our sentiments, on our emotions and thoughts - and ideals. The quest, once in a while, has to come full circle - back to each of us and whatever and whoever we're closest to. Then, from there, we can begin again. Then, from here, we can continue and carry on.


Post a Comment

<< Home