At this late stage of my life I'm still not sure what life is all about. Oh, I've learned the easy stuff...that living a life of shallow superficiality is prescription for misery, or that loved ones enrich us, that the moments of sorrow makes the moments of joy so much finer.
But, really, how are we supposed to navigate ourselves through this crazy, mortal world? Are we supposed to laugh our way through it? Is every day of our life Saturday night? Is every night prom night? Are we happy if the beer is cold and the girls are hot?
Or is there supposed to be a little homework? Are we here to serve others? Or at least exist to make our love ones happy. Has our creator assigned us the task of looking inside ourselves, find what's there and sand down and polish off the rough spots? And what are we to expect in the afterlife if we skip the homework and content ourselves with being buffeted about, going wherever the winds of change carry us?
It's hard as hell to look for others for help! Trying to discern what's spinning around in someone else's heart and mind is nearly impossible because most folks just aren't giving it up for you. Oh, you'll find out what their favorite foods are, or the kind of car they'd most like to drive, or what movie they like most...but if you're looking for substance, or frankness and honesty, far too few are willing to share with you what keeps them up at night...if any. Instead everybody lives like life is a Facebook page; they share the latest joke, the place where they're eating lunch, the quality of the hamburger and how so and so cracked them up with they fell on a banana peel.
When they do talk about something that has meaning they borrow from an old poem, a snazzy saying, a gob of sarcastic irony, and that has to suffice for you to guess what's in their soul.
So we make strangers of ourselves...even many of those far too old to be wearing disguises, lest someone see them in a naked moment....lest someone discover who they really are. At this late stage in the game why in the hell care about someone learning who you really are!
Oh, but we are not a bit reticent about savaging those whose opinions don't jell with our own. We have become quite adept at keyboard savagery as we place those we disagree with in a small, confining box of which there is no escape.
But, perhaps even a little savagery is more admirable than the cold stone silence one inflicts on those they love the most. It is a practiced art, as refined as good table etiquette...where the butter knife goes and where to place the salad fork. Those that we love, and those that love us, deserve more.
So I guess food fights in the cafeteria are fun, as are trips to the beach, and snow boarding, and dinner parties, and movie night, and the raucousness of a ball game, or water cooler gossip. But I believe we need to take the time to do some homework too. We need time to be alone with ourselves....to figure out who we are, then honestly share that truth with those in our life who matter.
And, for our own good, we need to find out whether what we believe in is right or wrong and steer our life course accordingly, regardless of what others think about it. That course can be vibrant with love and laughter and fun...but we need to do a little homework on ourselves once in awhile...lest everything else become chock full of lies and empty promises.