When You Think You Have All The Answers You’re Probably Asking The Wrong Questions
This week the columnist serves up a large order of wisdom with a side of humor. No tipping please!
“…..Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.” ~ Black Elk Oglala Sioux Holy Man (1863-1950)
This past week was rather thought-provoking. I won’t go into detail but suffice to say I feel I took a giant step forward on the long, bumpy road that is my writing career.
I’d struggled with some personal issues over the past few weeks that had me questioning myself, my motives – just about everything. But a few setbacks and a couple of minor detours later, the road has smoothed out nicely and I’m moving forward again.
Just to show you how bad things had become, I checked in on my column on Norton Patch on Thursday and a guy who was running around naked in an Attleboro neighborhood had beaten me out for the most read article that day.
Of course, I’m kidding. That wasn’t the worst thing that happened, but it was a bit sobering. I do enjoy seeing my column on top of the ‘most read’ list.
Life can be downright ludicrous at times. If we’re honest about it, I’d guess that most of us are not where we thought we’d be at this moment in time, nor are we doing what we thought we’d be doing.
I realize I’m overstating this and speaking in very broad terms, but I’m willing to bet this applies to most of us. For many, the path we’ve ultimately traveled may not have been our first choice, or even our second or third. The fact is that our path may not have been our choice at all, but was merely the place where we landed.
As David Byrne from Talking Heads so aptly put it, “We may find ourselves in another part of the world. We may find ourselves behind the wheel of a large automobile. We may find ourselves in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife. And we may ask ourselves, ‘Well, how did I get here?’ "
I should probably spend less time on YouTube. It may be having a deleterious effect on my thinking process. Oh, and that word – deleterious – that’s my Word Of The Day. Hey, it works for Bill O’Reilly why shouldn’t it work for me? Come on, go look it up. Google it. Don’t be a sluggard!
Seriously though, life can be strange, don’t you agree? A lot of things we believed to be absolute truth when we were in our teens and twenties are replaced by new truths in our thirties, which in turn are replaced by another set of truths in our forties, and so on and so forth throughout our lives. We are forever immersed in the process of philosophical evolution; the refining of thought. It’s a life-long learning process.
Before the extremists from either side of this debate jump down my throat because they believe that they alone are the caretakers of all that’s true and good, let me say that, yes; there are those who lock on to one set of philosophical beliefs and hold it as their own throughout their lives. They believe that they possess and are the custodians of the absolute truth.
I say, “Good for them!” I’m happy for them. I’m in the Libertarian camp on this one. I believe everyone has the right to make choices as to how to live their own lives providing they respect the rights of others to do likewise. There’s considerably more to it than that, but that’s the Bob Havey paraphrase.
The problem is that many who believe they have the truth do not share my view and do not respect the rights of others to make their own choices. This is a very dangerous path to pursue. One’s personal beliefs are not to be ridiculed. We are free to disagree, but as long as the beliefs of others are not doing harm to someone else; we need to butt out and let things fall where they may.
Fair debate is always fitting, but ridicule is never acceptable. Disrespect for our fellow man is inappropriate and indefensible and the fact that someone is not in the same place that we are mentally, emotionally or spiritually does not give us license to bully them into compliance with our own beliefs and principles even though we may feel we have their best interests at heart.
I have a saying I’m very fond of that I believe fits perfectly into this discussion - God will let you go where you need to go in order to get you where you need to be. I’m fairly certain this particular phrase is of my own creation, but I know it’s comprised of bits and pieces of things I've heard from others over the years. Most things are.
After all, we are the sum total of our experiences to this point in our lives and it’s likely that none of us has ever had a strictly original thought aside from what we’ve gleaned from the thoughts of others throughout our lives.
We are all participants in the circle of life. Most of us get married. We have children and our homes are filled with baby food and diapers. Life marches on, as it is wont to do, and in due time our children leave home, get married and have children of their own; and now their homes are filled with baby food and diapers.
Our children bring their children [our grandchildren] to visit us and our homes are again filled with baby food and diapers.
We progress further down the continuum of time and before we know it our grandchildren get married and have had children of their own [our great-grandchildren]. Strangely enough; our homes are still filled with baby food and diapers, but things are curiously different now.
The baby food and diapers we keep in our homes are no longer for our children, or our grand-children, or our great grand-children……….
They’re for us!
Make it a great week!
Bob Havey is an Easton-based freelance writer and a consummate trouble-maker. His column, "The View From Here", appears each Tuesday at http://easton-ma.patch.com and on Wednesday at http://mansfield-ma.patch.com. His column, “The Way I See It”, runs every other Wednesday at http://norton.patch.com.