Archive for December 2010
It seems, as one becomes older, That the past has another pattern, and ceases to be a mere sequence— Or even development: the latter a partial fallacy Encouraged by superficial notions of evolution, Which becomes, in the popular mind, a means of disowning the past. The moments of happiness—not the sense of well-being, Fruition, fulfilment, security or affection, Or even a very good dinner, but the sudden illumination— We had the experience but missed the meaning, And approach to the meaning restores the experience In a different form, beyond any meaning We can assign to happiness. - T.S. Eliot, The Dry Salvages
I spent the holiday in a quiet thought-scape for as much time as I could string together. I tried to let the empty space fill me up before I turned up the heat in the house, made a fresh pot of afternoon coffee, snugged up with a book or switched to the web and television.
At some point during my reflection I realized I forgot to post to Three Thanks last Monday. I was too busy, maybe. More likely I was too caught up in the milieu of “the season” – gifts, travel plans, striving for order in the chaos we’ve created for ourselves and somewhere on the bottom of my list might have been “be thankful” – but I don’t know because I never seem to get to the end of those lists. By now I should realize that “be thankful” needs to be at the top, not at the bottom.
I blame my Western heritage. Westerners focus on the goal, not the journey. Our institutions of all kinds are focused on getting to the “end” and reaping the reward so that we can either do it all again to get to the next end, or “relax”. It’s what we do and it’s dreadfully unfulfilling but we don’t recognize that because we have “the experience” but miss “the meaning”. The meaning is what matters. We are indeed “not the same who left that station” and for that, I am thankful.
I am thankful that
- a great cold spilled over the country and re-warmed my heart
- T.S. Eliot showed up in my quiet space, uninvited but always welcome
- brightly colored birds kept me company until the house was again filled with love.
For what are you thankful?
Brrrrrrrrr. We are trapped in the unrelenting grip of an icy fingered giant named December. I don’t do cold very well – which means that today I am thankful for
- shelter from that nasty wind,
- a 20 year old but thick wool blanket,
- safe travels and arrivals.
Please stay warm and remember to say thank you today to that someone who fends off the cold, holds open the door, or shares a smile.