blarg I hate not being able to sleep. so here I am, pretending to be cool.
see how cool I am? I wrote this in october 2003. at the time I called it “experiences: a thought meander.” I do miss writing…
Have you ever been in a friendship that you knew was coming to an end? You can feel things winding down, drifting apart, slowly dying. Did you try to fight it? ignore it? or just make the most out of those last days?
To me, autumn always feels like a fading friendship. There’s a wistful enjoyment in watching the leaves change color. Their beauty is made all the more exquisite knowing that they’ll soon be fallen, leaving the trees bare. Maybe that awareness of the limited time frame is what makes autumn more appreciated. Maybe this season is a metaphor for life, and the reason we can find so much fulfillment is because we try to make the most out of those “last days.”
Imagine if this life went on indefinitely. Would each new morning matter? The first snowfall of the year could hardly fill you with excitement. There would be a hundred more to come, a thousand more already past. The fact that we can only experience a finite number of snowfalls makes each of them a glorious wonder.
There are so many things we pay little attention to because we see them so often, yet they, too, are limited. How many times have you seen the moon come up over the mountains? How many of those times did you stop for a moment, captivated by its breathtaking grandeur? What about storm clouds in the distance, stretching down to earth with their mists of rain? I love the colors of a summer sunset, the sky glowing with lavenders and golds you have to experience to believe. That’s what life is about—experiences. Get yours while you can, before the last leaf of autumn falls.
this past sunday we went up to jarom’s grandma’s house for dinner. on the way up we started reading the screwtape letters together. I’ve read it before, and wanted jarom to share. last year I read the great divorce to him, and I think this one is maybe a little bit more fun, though they’re both excellent books.
two of my favorite quotes:
“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
“The more often [a man] feels without acting, the less he will ever be able to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.”
on an unrelated note (I love those), today in my social problems class we talked more about race and ethnicity. mostly our teacher shared some personal stories with us. his daughter married a tongan man in the late 70s, and they decided for their reception they would just have an informal get-together with extended family on sunday after church. when our teacher arrived at the provo park they decided to meet at, there were about a dozen members of the tongan ward, still in church clothes, setting up tables and carrying casseroles, etc. there were also 3 police cars with lights flashing. mr. teacher went to talk to the officers and see what was up – they were responding to a “threatening situation” of what appeared to be an “ominous gathering.” our teacher was furious. he said you could recreate that situation a thousand times with white people (and yes, our teacher is white) and no one would ever dream of calling it an “ominous gathering” or “threatening situation.” people in church clothes, carrying casseroles on a sunday afternoon? the officers finally agreed to leave, if mr. teacher was sure he could “control these people.”
I thought, initially, that my small contribution to saving the world would be through fighting hunger. and that is a huge issue. but maybe problems with prejudice are just as bad, or greater. it isn’t limited to the u.s., not by any stretch of the imagination. today I read up on my yugoslav war history (I knew relatively nothing about it before this morning) – a lot of the conflict was over who was ethnically serbian and who was not. only a tiny fraction of the 30,000 genes in our genomes have anything to do with skin color. why have we decided that differences in skin color and heritage are so important, when in reality we are all so similar?
I know I need to choose a focus if I am going to save the world. (it’s better than the first advice my sociology teacher gave me when I told him I wanted to save the world – “give up now.”) but there are so many major issues. and bigger than them all, for the moment, is a policy paper I have to write! I guess saving the world will have to wait…