Sunday, September 2, 2007


Today I had long instant message conversations with two girlfriends. I met these women online, one lives 1500 miles away, the other on another continent, yet they've become real, whole people to me. I stood later in my living room, and later yet in my backyard, and danced to music playing on my iPod's headphones, to songs recommended by those far-off friends. Here is the thing: my constant reminders of the shrinking world make me despise my ignorance. It is shameful that I have not engaged myself with people from other cultures in years, that I am well educated yet know no other languages, that I've never travelled outside this continent. My time has been far too focused on the tiny sphere that I moved within each day, and that sphere feels constricting these days. I am fighting the urge to sweep everything aside, but I welcome these stirrings of desire for change. Change that I might choose. That seems the key to my musings these days.

Just watched the film "The Queen" - several friends had recommended, no, demanded that I see it. What a performance Helen Mirren gives, and what an icy-cool message of such weight. The film reminds us that some elements of our lives are prescribed, some of the life-paths we will walk, that we must walk, are chosen for us. But it is in us to change, to adapt, to react with purpose and not with fear. This is my mantra these days - to live with purpose and not in fear of what I do not, cannot, will not or have not had. Living with purpose is, it seems, the prerequisite to living in joy.

I am a fan, a starstruck and giddy fan, of the writer Andre Dubus. In a book of tributes to Andre Dubus, a friend quotes a letter that he wrote. The quote is lovely, and funny, and smart. But a single sentence in it has become something I hear echoing in my mind in moments of joy and of pain. The sentence is this:

This is not all fun in the sun but a durable, graceful dance to the music of mortality.

Indeed. I believe that shadows make us see light more vividly, that there is no life worth living that doesn't have difficult moments, that loss and failure and hurt make success and joy sweeter. We are in a durable, graceful dance to the music of mortality.

Isn't it lovely?

Peace and hope ~ patti


Anonymous said...

Good stuff. Keep these coming.

Anonymous said...

No wonder you're a fan of Mr. Dubus. Thanks for sharing.