Baby Charlotte
10 Questions From Crabby

Some Questions of Maturity

category_bug_journal2.gif A week or so ago, Clarence, at his Can You Hear Me Now? blog, posted an entry so provocative and intriguing I suggest you read it before continuing with this page. It’s short, titled Do You Ever Wonder?

Clarence’s rumination begins:

What I'm wondering is this: What road-map have you followed through your life? What drummer is playing the music you march to? Is there a guiding influence, a small, quiet voice you hear that "suggests" a course of action to take or which choice to make when several are available?

And it ends:

Is there a deeper purpose for your life? If so, what is it? Where are you going? How will you get there? Is it really up to you to decide? Who is it that determines what choices are set before you?

It is a valuable exercise, I believe, and an important step in maturing into our later years to take such questions seriously and to revisit them regularly. They cannot possibly be answered quickly and easily or maybe at all, and there are no right or wrong answers - only personal ones. I have pondered on this one many times: “Is it simply fate that has brought you to this point in time? Do you ever feel…your course has been set by one much greater than yourself?”

So far, I go – well, both ways, doing what some say is impossible: holding two conflicting beliefs simultaneously. I am convinced I have made each choice that changed the direction of my life on my own with no help or signpost from the gods or the cosmos.

On the other hand, when I imagine alternative lives I might have lived had I chosen other paths when arriving at crossroads, there is a dim, gray, unreal feel to them compared to the vibrant colors of the life I have lived. This life I have, then, feels overwhelmingly inevitable, that it could not have been any other way. And it is then I become equally convinced there is book somewhere where each event in our lives is written down, predetermined, and we have never had anything to say about any of it.

That thought invariably reminds me a favorite John Hartford tune from the 1960s, I Would Not Be Here:


Well, I would not be here if I hadn’t been there
And I wouldn’t’ve been there if I hadn’t just turned
On Wednesday the third in the late afternoon
Got to talking with George who works out the back
And only because he was getting off early

To go see a man at a Baker Street bookstore
With a rare first edition of Steamboats and Cotton
A book that he would never have sought in the first place
Had he not been inspired by a fifth-grade replacement
School teacher in Kirkwood who was picked just at random

By some man on a school board that couldn’t care less
And she wouldn’t’ve been working if not for her husband
Who’d moved two months prior to work in the office
Of man he had met while he served in the Army
And only because they were in the same barracks

An accident caused by a poorly made roster
Mixed up on the desk of a sergeant from Denver
Who wouldn’t’ve been in but for being in back
Of a car he was riding before he enlisted
That hit a cement truck and killed both his buddies

But a backseat flew up there, spared him from dying
And only because of the fault of a workman
Who forgot to turn screws on a line up in De-troit
Because he hollered at Sam who was hateful that morning
Hung over from drinking alone at a tavern

Because of a woman he wished he’d not married
He’d met long ago at a Jewish bar mitzvah
For the son of a man who had moved there from Jersey
Who managed the drugstore that sold the prescription
That cleared up the sunburn he’d caught way last summer.


Hartford’s lyrics don’t answer the question of cause and effect, but they do cheer you up when the mind gets too boggled to continue – which should not deter you from trying again. And again.


Comments

I with you and hold both conflicting views simultaneously.

I make the choices but I am swept away in the flow of life. Nice job responding to Clarence. I thought but failed.

Take care
Michael

Very much enjoyed your comments. I have buried a sister and two children and had my share of unhappiness, but when I look back over my life, I realize that everything good in my life is partly the result of something negative. There are things I wish hadn't happened, but if I had a magic wand and could go back and change parts of my life, I wouldn't change a thing.

Ronni

Beautifully thought out and expressed. Oh! How I wish I could have gotten that kind of effort and response from every other thinking person in the world that might have come across that entry I posted...all 12 of them.

WOW! John Hartford. Didn't he play the Banjo when he performed his songs? If I've got the right person, he reminds me of a musical Steven Wright (or is that Stephen?) Stone-face...Stoic; someone you had to listen closely to or you would surely miss something important. At first his lyrics came across as nonsensical, but on closer inspection one discovered that this man is a genius.

Thanks so much for giving me some of your precious time. I for one know how valuable time is but did not come to realize it until I had squandered so much of my own.

At this moment I feel that this is not the end for me where this topic is concerned. All I needed was someone to hear me.

So, is life a tire swing? Or a crap shoot? Or perhaps both? I'm confused. I find my life has been both serendipitous and flukish. Reminds me of a Beatle tune:

There are places I'll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

Ronni I loved the John Hartford tune, on one of my blogs I wrote about Benny Martin, Well John Hartford produced that album... He was something special. Love your writing

Thanks for the track back. Have you ever taken Ira Progoff's National Intensive Journal workshops? There is a section called Intersections that allows us to explore paths we didn't take and ones we are debating taking--and another route of just staying on the same old path.

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