Realism & Sharing
It seems that we are no longer realistic; we need to become more realistic for us to succeed as a community. We need to accept the concept of what ought to be, not what they seem to be. What counts is trust; we must trust each other to live for one another. We can no longer afford to live just for our own benefit. We cannot forget those living on the edges of our society. Who knows, we may even find a deeper knowledge of community there.
Throughout my career, I have been able to get to know many people who have not had the same advantages I have had in my life. I find a basic wisdom, faith, and happiness with these people that is many times lacking in people with more advantage. I often ask myself why this is so. I want to know what these friends have that I may have missed.
To do this, I find myself thinking outside the box; something I tell my writing students to practice all the time, when writing their essays. I often witness a very basic humility in these friends. Yes, they are proud, but not arrogant; they listen to learn, listen to improve. I would love to have the willingness to be pleased with how God has blessed me.
I always tend to over examine, rather than merely accepting these gifts. I used to be very envious of those with more than me; I no longer feel this way. I have learned better, both from my friends and from my life experiences.
Okay, I’m overthinking things again. Maybe, but the more I meditate, the more I realize that what I have, what God has given me, is exactly what I need to live, need to be productive, need to be happy.
I struggled through college. My first try in 1961 was anything but successful. After a tour with the Marines, and marriage to a wonderful woman, I was more successful in my undergraduate years, not dean’s list, but successful. Twenty years later, when I entered graduate school, my experience in attaining a master’s degree in history was considerably more successful. My maturity, my life experiences taught me to take what is given and not to look for more.
I was looking to improve myself, but not at the expense of others. I worked with others so that we all succeeded. I learned to work and study in a group, sharing what we all learned to enable all of us to succeed.
Ten years later, when going back to get a doctorate in literature, my posture had grown to the extent that everything I learned, I shared; everything my classmates learned was shared with me. We all succeeded; not only that, we all broadened our understanding in ways I always thought were impossible.
I wrote my dissertation on PTSD in post war literature; my closest friend wrote hers in poetry on early medieval church literature. Two different objectives that were broadened by our discussions. I know that part of her sharing landing in my dissertation, and vice versa.
Sharing is something that we in the United States must relearn to do, all over again. I try to get my students to work together; I share my experiences with them, but they find it very difficult to do.
We have to change the way we teach our children. We need each other to have a successful community.
It’s not too late to learn.