The view from the sidelines

So we start a new year, and one filled with domestic and international events (and challenges) which have been much anticipated. One good thing is that we all expect it to be difficult, so there is room for pleasant surprise. And in the meantime, we are all armed for trouble.

As I look ahead to the next twelve months, I wonder where my outlook comes from (and where others get their’s from).

For several reasons, but mainly because my father died when I was seven, triggering long range consequences, I tend to find myself  standing on the outside, looking in. This can be a wistful perspective; everyone likes the idea of belonging, but it endures and it is where I naturally stand.

I may admire institutions, but I don’t want to belong to them. I am afraid of being submerged; I prize too highly my independence and self sufficiency. The more I know about tribes, the more I see them as a means to keep people apart, as well as bringing them together. Difference and identity are good things; but it is shades of difference that define one tribe from another; beware those that see differences as more fundamental, or claim special rights for their tribe over others. If there is one God (surely there is not room for more), why should He allow himself to be worshipped by so many competing religions? I am not, by the way, a believer.

I am inconstant, I am fragile. So are you, though I don’t think humans own up to their weaknesses as much as they should do. If we all accepted and communicated our limits as well as our strengths we might make more balanced, wiser decisions, be better understood and manage happier lives. Instead so many of us, especially men, charge after imagery and positions that they can not sustain (nor really want). How many people throw a silhouette that truly reflects who they are?

The triumph of life is to enjoy it and to do the right thing, and with love. What you believe is the right thing might not be what others believe, but that doesn’t matter as long as you are being true to something you feel is important, and it is done in the name of love, not hate. Acting in the name of love sounds embarrassing and preachy, worthy of the pulpit. It isn’t. Deep, challenging words like love shouldn’t be left to the religions. All you need is love. Etc.

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