Sunday, June 15, 2008

Three Questions...

When I was a girl, perhaps 6 or 7, I recall watching the suffering of others. I had a friend with Cystic Fibrosis. I watched her battle her illness. I watched people cry after losing a spouse or a child in death. I watched relationships end and the subsequent hurt that unfolded. My life was very sheltered from all of this. My mother made sure of that. But my heart longed to understand this suffering. I wanted to know what all these experiences felt like. I wanted to know grief. I wanted to know illness. I wanted to know suffering.

Perhaps in my childish mind I thought that suffering garnered one a level of sympathy or attention. But even deeper than that, I just wanted so much to feel the aliveness that these people exuded. Even at a young age, I felt so disconnected from life, from what seemed to be the reality of other people's existence. Between my mother and the religion, a bubble was created for me to live in. But that bubble also kept me from fully experiencing myself, the breadth and depth of what it meant to be human. And so, I feel as though I made an unconscious pact with the universe, a silent prayer, if you will, to understand suffering, to become real.

Looking back through the Rubbermaid archives, I am struck by the next question that appeared in my young mind. "What is love?" I would continually ask in my teen journals. How do I find it? How do I hold onto it? What does it look like? Feel like? How will I know it? Does it last forever? And it seems that once again, I created a universe within which I could explore these wonderings.

Now, I have this blog as a testimony to my ongoing journey into the question, "Who am I really?" And life, once more, presents a vista of experiences against which I test the mettle of who I am. Each day I look in the mirror and wonder about that person staring back at me. Who is she really?

As I approach my 34th birthday, I cannot say I have definitive answers to any of these three wonderings, but I can say that I have lived these questions fully. Perhaps that is enough.

tall penguin

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is it the answers that matter the most? Or that you fully experience the journey you undertake looking for the questions?

Cheers!

Alice said...

I wouldn't say I know all about love, but I've kept a book of quotes that I like ever since I was a teen. It's interesting to see what I liked in a quote as time has passed. A very clear progression and change over time for sure!

matt said...

I wanted to know what all these experiences felt like. I wanted to know grief. I wanted to know illness. I wanted to know suffering.

We can learn to empathize so young, can't we? All it takes is observance of suffering and then self-reflection. Those little glimpses of the real world really make a difference. Whatever bubble forms around our eyes cannot completely blind us from reality. There are distortions that let us see beyond our bubble. Eventually we are brave enough to reach out towards it; of course, we don't realize we're in a bubble, so it pops. :)

I should pull out the first essay I wrote for art history class. I think you'll like it. It's about the pre-neolithic man and the quest to find out "Who am I?" I don't think it was long enough though.

:)

Anonymous said...

I wanted to know what all these experiences felt like. I wanted to know grief. I wanted to know illness. I wanted to know suffering.

I can relate to this as I have written a similar one during my childhood, born into a christian household. I remember wanting to experience life, real life outside of my sheltered environment. And life is full of suffering, but the key is attitude.

"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."
-Romans 5:3-4

tall penguin said...

""Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."
-Romans 5:3-4"

Thanks anon. This is the first time I've been able to read a Bible passage without a physical reaction. As with any other work of literature, there are some redeeming thoughts.