Friday, May 3, 2013

Make the time for the possible!

Sometimes I read more than I write. Sometimes the opposite is true. I follow a blog about Manitowoc’s performing arts center: The Capitol Civic Centre, which is written by its executive Director Matt Schliesman. ( The blog provides promotion for upcoming shows and projects happening at the historic gem located in our community’s historic downtown; Mr. Schliesman also writes about creativity and its spirit. 
 “Opportunity has come to me in many terms, so has necessity,” Matt Schliesman wrote.

The above quote makes me think of how I often times have focused more on the necessities in life rather than the opportunities. I have long struggled to reconcile my need to write creatively with finding an avenue to provide for my necessities. The latter cannot be ignored. Yet, the concept of reconciliation is fitting. Hunger for the necessities can cure writer’s block — even if it can’t always allow for the pursuit of less saleable writing such as poetry and fiction. However, if we spend all our time focusing on acquiring necessities with a traditional “real job,” it leaves a deficit in the time we can devote to following opportunities. How does one live without necessities? How does one live while ignoring opportunities, especially the ones hidden in your own innate talents and passions?
With each year that slips by, minute by minute, we lose something. Time. Chances. Possibilities. We squander our limited resource on the should-dos rather than the could-dos. Sometimes, we fail to make progress on either resulting in anxiety, regret, and depression. Paralysis to action is fueled by fear and indecision. We settle. Settle for what comes our way. Robert Frost talks about creating our own path rather than following a paved road. The only problem is the paved road leads to a destination. The question is: is this place where you want to be? The problem with forging your way to the unknown is you, the traveler, knows not where it leads and there is no clue to when you have arrived.

The epiphany of arrival and contentedness is elusive. You cannot capture it and store it, but rather continue to seek it and recognize it.
Indecisiveness is crippling. Hesitation leads to missed opportunities. Courage may be the most important of all necessities. Without courage we have no mechanism for overcoming fear.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Catholic Girls Guide

I acquired a leather-bound, pocket-size book with golden page borders from my great-grandmother Helen. It is called “The Catholic Girls Guide” and was edited by Rev. Francis X. Lasance in 1906. This gem has ideas that seem outdated by today’s standards, but I did enjoy the following passage on friendship.

“If you have to stand alone in an evil world, in the midst of dangers, temptations and snare, a good and true friendship will be highly desirable … You will more easily escape the perils of the world, you will more readily save your soul, if you are united to others in the bonds of pious and holy friendship, that so you may mutually warn, encourage and sustain one another, and stimulate one another to practice good works. True friends seek to promote the good and happiness of each other.”

I love the part about promoting good and happiness of each other and the notion of forming a pact against the evils of the world. The chapter continues:

“Be not hasty in forming close friendships, ‘but when you have found a friend,’ says a certain writer, ‘let neither death, nor misunderstanding, nor distance, nor doubt, nor anything else interrupt this friendship and vex your peace.’ Let their joys be your joys and their sorrows your sorrows.”

“A friend is one of the sweetest things that life can bring. A true friend is not only our comfort in sorrow, our help in adversity; he also recalls us to a sense of duty when we have forgotten ourselves, he inspires and encourages us to aim at high ideals, he takes loving heed of our health, our work, our plans and all that concerns us; he wants to make us good and happy.”

The book has devotions, free from actual bible verse, on all areas of woman’s life. While some modern feminists may take offense to the passages on marriage and vocation, some of collection’s wisdom is timeless, such as this exert on friendship.

My life is full with people who are beyond companions and really champions who want me to live a full and healthy life. I hope I return this sincerity in the friendships I hold. I post this today to encourage you to take assessment of those people in your life and hold them against this standard — you deserve people of this mindset in your life.

The passage ends with a short poem:
“Sweeter than the breath of spring,
Is the joy a friend can bring,
Who rejoices in your gladness,
And give solace in our sadness.”