Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Not with a bang

For various reasons, I've been thinking about Eliot's "The Hollow Men". Specifically the line "Not with a bang but a whimper".

We expect our actions to have a certain response, only to find that the people in our lives either don't react or don't (can't) step up to the plate. I've been learning (sometimes it's easier than others) that I can't depend on that reaction for my own happiness. To be able to find peace. It's not fair to anyone.

I've read before of some experiences of gay people coming out of the closet. Each person is different, of course, but many will say that it's easier (at times) to deal with a parent who goes crazy, who yells and screams and kicks their gay child out of the home; than a parent who listens and then never talks about it again. Who ignores their child's happiness and their partners. What I've read is that sometimes the heartache of the drama is easier to respond to than denial and secrecy.

I can't say "I'll be happy when..." (we buy a new house, I find a new job, my kids are older, etc.) because I don't know what will happen tomorrow. I've got to find contentment today, in the small beauty of what I have.

I can't say "I'll be happy when this person does X", an obvious choice would be leave the mormon church. That's ridiculous and unfair. I don't have to live with that choice, with their choice.

Why should I stake my own happiness on it? As long as I'm being respected, my choices/boundaries respected, does it matter?

I'm not going to put up a false front, to pretend that nothing's wrong either, when things might be problematic.

I'm just not going to dwell on the future, what that might be.

There's not a lot of safety in this position, and it's quite uncomfortable for me. I have found that the greatest insight can come from stepping outside of what I've known, what I'm comfortable with - how I've reacted and attempted to control/manipulate in the past.

PS. I understand that Eliot is controversial for many reasons, and I'll save my concerns/comments about that for another post. I just wanted to quickly recognize that yes, his politics were distasteful. I'm not sure if his art can stand around that, I believe it can. I believe we have to separate (at times) the art from the person - depending on the specific situation. In Eliot's case, I choose to read his work, because it's beautiful and insightful. With an acknowledgment that I do not agree with many of his anti-Semitic personal/political views.

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