Robert (gurdonark) wrote,
Robert
gurdonark

ordinary gifts

"And so is the world put back by the death of every one who has to sacrifice the development of his or her peculiar gifts (which were meant, not for selfish gratification, but for the improvement of that world) to conventionality"--Florence Nightingale

That fellow Frost, with his road not taken and making all the difference, never had to worry about the non-dischargeability in bankruptcy of graduate school student loans.



Do you know the curious thing about people who live out their dreams? They still remain people as they do so. I listened tonight to the fellow with that band Metallica on the radio tonight, describing how music was his only way to escape a rather bleak (mother dead, father dead, working in a factory) day to day life. Later, they talked about his visits to rehab.

Some folks mean to be or are meant to be rock stars or novelists or artists. Most of us mean to be or are meant to be cut from more ordinary cloth. But I notice that even so, people have a wide range of choices before them to assist them in achieving the things they long to do.

I think folks imagine that there is really a hermetically sealed way to live life--a way without undue risk. But I've met people in so many walks of life, and I don't think there is a life without a kind of existential risk. One risks forfeiting one's dreams. One risks failure. One risks unhappiness. One risks loneliness, poverty, isolation, meaninglessness.

The person who did his/her all to be attractive to others so often founders on failing to attract the right kind of person. The person who makes a ton of money can afford comforts, but comforts sometimes move past satiation into a curious malaise. I'm not much for camels and eyes of needles tonight, and I think that money has its advantages. But I notice, over time, that the people I know who made fortunes often find living the fortunate life as big a torment as living the unfortunate life. The person who rejects all conventions as dross finds himself/herself longing for traditional acceptance.

I think that the problem in life is finding one's ordinary gifts--the things one can do to really live as of life mattered. If one can find a little compassion within oneself, I think that's a tremendous benefit. If one can find the ability to just be with oneself for extended periods of time, I think that can be a kind of comfort, too. I get home at night lately and think what a blessing it is to enjoy a day of work. This is a consolation denied to many.

I think that perspective is so often what people lack. I like kids I meet nowadays. But so often, I worry that amid the pressure and pleasures of being a kid now, it's hard to find those simple things.
The "simple things" are not always easy. They often require hard work to enjoy--a marriage, a career,
an educational attainment, playing a musical instrument.

I'm not saying that things have to be hard or they aren't good. I like that a lot of things can be done with superficial effort. But so many times it's sweat that defines us, and sweat that makes things work.

Lately I notice that I need to focus on the basic things. I want to take advantage of my ordinary gifts, and not worry that I don't have extraordinary ones.
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