12/30/2008

When Civilizations Collide

Something that has always interested me is the dynamic of relationships. How and why we get along (or don’t), acknowledging the baggage that each of us brings into every relationship and situation and trying to understand how that colors every conversation. I have no answers, just increasingly complicated questions about how all of this works (or doesn’t). I know the dynamic exists and I try to allow that to color my response to people but that type of effort can get complicated really quick, mainly because I have my own baggage to deal with. Sure, I am trying to get past all of that, trying to grow up and out of the old skin but, once the old is sloughed off, I assume another fresh layer is added, dictated by what I went through last year or last week (or yesterday). Are we ever baggage free? Is all baggage bad? Discuss amongst yourselves...

The following paragraph is from the book “Gilead” by Marilynne Robinson. The story is marvelous, one that deserves a slow read because practically every sentence is worth your time. This snippet jumped out at me and is a nice capper to my thoughts about relationships. Again, no answers, just some grist to mentally grind.

“Every single one of us is a little civilization built on the ruins of any number of preceding civilizations, but with our own variants of notions of what is beautiful and what is acceptable—which, I hasten to add, we generally do not satisfy and by which we struggle to live. We take fortuitous resemblances among us to be actual likeness, because those around us have also fallen heir to the same customs, trade in the same coin, acknowledge, more or less, the same notions of decency and sanity. But all that really allows us to coexist with the inviolable, untraversable, and utterly vast spaces between us.”

2 comments:

Laura Jean said...

can i ask if recent events in your daughters life had anything to do with these thoughts??? lol

Jaysephus said...

That and a lot of other things. Like I said, it is something that has always interested me -- within my life directly or indirectly.