Tuesday, May 8, 2018

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Connecting with other people is no easy matter.  Initially the acceptance of their particular vernacular may outright repel us; and even if we make the effort to understand them our posture is not always sympathetic. I won't make the mistake of suggesting we all suffer identical or even similar demons; but after this morning's bout with obstruction I'm convinced that I have at least a partial appreciation of the frustration and resignation some people at times endure. It's all very well to observe that there are bumps in the road but it is quite another to have the feeling of being at the end of the road - or, worse, even wishing you were there. Sometimes the trauma of living is so acute - and the energy to keep going so exhausting - that no relief seems either imaginable or possible. Positive thinking is not only of no avail, it may be plainly tiresome and off-putting.  Grief can occasionally overwhelm the situation beyond the realm of either logic or hopefulness.

Like most daily friction it isn't long before the depression fades and is replaced by something far happier.  But it is nonetheless a transition and one which is never completely free of collateral damage. If the overall effect of the progression is to heighten our compassion for others then the unpleasantness has value.  There may also be an improvement of our personal muddle but the broader catharsis is more up-lifting.  Grasping a person's identity or qualifications is the first step to toleration for without it we're constantly faced with inexplicable objection. There is no way we can meaningfully relate to others without knowing the complicated details of their character. It may be necessary to confront a taxing barrier ourselves for that to happen. We needn't encounter the precise events as others but approaching the loss can be as illuminating.

Expressing a comprehension of another's misfortune sanctifies the loneliness and isolation which we all feel; and commensurately unites us in the whirlwind of humanity. There is no more honest gratitude than that arising from similarity of experience - it is just the knowledge that our condition is appreciated.  It doesn't matter whether there is any legitimacy or purpose to the cause, just the unity of the moment whatever it is. What a confession it is to say, "I've been there!"

The measure of friendship is largely alike in any circumstance.  True friends are not only capable of talking freely to one another; they share a magnanimity of one another's purported whims and weaknesses. While each may fashion there are specific reasons to admire or respect the other, it is more probable that the true reason for the alliance is an awareness and forebearance of one another's foibles.  What other rationale is there for the likes of Prince Hal and Sir John Falstaff!

Awakening to the disparities of life is forever an abrupt contemplation. There is no assurance that the wisdom it affords will be painlessly succeeded; in fact, often the contrary. But it is useless to thwart the process howsoever agonizing. The avenue to association and equation is at times a perilous one and seldom foreseeable.  How treacherous it is to leap to the side of the road for fear of unsafe passage! The testimonial for fruitful human conduct is a combination of perseverance and empathy. Therein lies the source of discovery and expansion!

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
by T. S. Eliot

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question ...
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

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