Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Romeo's Tune"

In 1979, Steve Forbert sang,
"Oh, gods and years will rise and fall
And there's always something more
Lost in talk, I waste my time
And it's all been said before
While further down behind the masquerade
The tears are there..."
I've been listening to "Romeo's Tune" when I need to cheer myself up lately.  My best friend is son's still battling stage three brain cancer.

My friend was telling me today that "it's hard" to hear his little brother telling friends sadly but very matter-of-factly about what he "used to do" with his older brother: build forts, go for bike rides, play sports.

He does what he can.  He planted a garden and got his whittling badge for the Boy Scouts.  When he feels well enough, he can go to Boy Scout picnics and activities, and little by little, a boy's life can be cobbled together out of the hand fate has dealt him.

It's hard.

And then I see people, healthy people, who are angry and rude and spiteful and selfish.  They mouth off at whoever they please, say whatever they please, and think they're funny or sarcastic or cool or smart or whatever.

They clearly think they have the right, that they're doing something worthwhile, asserting or proving themselves somehow.

I don't know where they get that idea.

I think of the words of the Buddha: "The thoughtful do not die: the thoughtless are as if dead already."

I find that I don't have patience for places like Facebook anymore.  I don't like to listen to people who complain constantly about absolutely everything. 

They offer so much negativity: no one wants or needs that. 

Again, the words of the Buddha come to mind: "A generous heart, kind speech, and compassion are the things which renew humanity."

Lately, I've actually deleted emails unread.  Not from my students, obviously.  My classes and my students are a source of renewal for me, a chance to be thoughtful and generous and kind and compassionate and to see those things returned.

I love to teach. 

But it bothers me that I've actually had to opt not to read other people's words anymore.

I've never done that in my life.  I don't know whether it's a good thing or not, but I know that my life has been a lot more peaceful since I started hitting "delete." 

At first, I blocked people and set up email filters, but then I just decided, "No.  I won't live this way.  It's not right."

Life shouldn't be elaborate, it should be simple and honest.

I decided that, like Dorothy Parker, “I shall stay the way I am because I do not give a damn.”
My Ph.D. dissertation was about the power and uses of silence.  I find that, even as I continue to learn how to craft my words, I'm returning to what I learned long ago.  I try to think of myself as protected by a wall of silence that negates the negativity others choose to put out.

As the Buddha says, ""Silence is an empty space, space is the home of the awakened mind."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."