Saturday, January 30, 2010

No Man is an Island

It's funny how events can converge in a moment of fantastic revelation. Such a converging took place a few moments ago. Where did it start? It's hard to say, who's to say that it didn't start about 31 years ago to lead up to this point, but to cut off the risk getting too deep, I'll explain.
J.D. Salinger died....wait, before that. Rather, I've finished my last requirement for my PhD candidacy and the feeling is intense. I've made it halfway and that means I'm at the top of the hill, no it's back down carefully to the finish line. At this moment, homework still beckons so I'm sitting there with two friends of mine and the conversation drifts from solid structure and Bravais lattices to life. What is it? How do we define it? I'll save you from the finer points, but the conflicting argument what is the meaning, is it pleasure from personal gain or joy from connecting to others? Does a Buddhist monk in isolation have just as much joy as the missionary helping build a school in a village and providing medicine, clean water, food, knowledge for creating a higher quality of living? Does the hermit in the mountains accompanied by only nature harness as much joy as those who provide food and shelter to the homeless or open their homes to those who have no place to stay? Who has captured the essence of la vie? Hold that thought.

My father once said his favorite movie is Groundhog day. He explained that the movie is one of the few that shows true character development of someone in a genuine way. Lo, and behold it was on today and I'd never seen it so it being a snow/ice day, I decided to indulge. A man starts out a selfish, egotistical and boorish man who realizes through the repetition of the same day that't happen through the hot girl you see or all the money you can spend or every indulgence you can imagine whether it's academic, religious, industrial, artistic, or physical. He realizes it comes from helping others, it comes from making them feel good, like they matter, that someone in this world doesn't want them for something, but wants them because their human, God's pinnacle of creation mad in His image. Salinger died yesterday. 91 years old, most of those lived in isolation up in the northeast. He wrote what is known as the quintessential "Great American novel" quite an accomplishment for any lifetime, but the only thing I kept thinking of is...what else did he do? His obituary is Catcher in the Rye. His legacy is Catcher in the Rye. What did he like for breakfast? Catcher in the Rye. Did he have a love of his life? Catcher in the Rye. Was their a childhood memory that he held dear? Catcher in the Rye. What was the song that reminded him of his teenage years? Catcher in the Rye. Why is their no answer but that? Because he cut himself off and decided life was best spent alone. He sacrificed a life that could have changed others beyond a book to have some peace and quiet. Some expensive peace.

Now every one is entitled to be wrong and I leave that to them, but a satisfying life does not come only from a sunset or a flower or denying self or sacrificing animals or selfish indulgence to satisfy all the senses. It comes from relationship with those around you, with your Creator; it comes from realizing everyone is the same deep deep down, we all want to be loved because that is what the Creator and the thought of anything that opposes that basic need scares the hell out of man so he tries to fill it with everything he can. But it doesn't work...

The other night I heard on the radio an interview with a Holocaust survivor. What did she learn in her life, they asked? She learned to forgive because forgiveness is always in your power and it gives you strength to live the life Elohim wants you to, one free of regret or pain or bitterness. She really gets it. How come so few others do?

You want to live life? Then love and accept love without any apprehension or doubt for what will happen tomorrow. Easier said than done, but damn it, I want to learn it more than anything you can learn in this life.

I'm out......