In my post today, I decided to reflect on “another day’s useless energy spent.” (For those who recognize it, they are lyrics from one of my favorite bands, The Moody Blues, which I saw in concert from the lawn seats at Great Woods before it became known as the Tweeter Center. Now how’s that for dating myself?)
Part of this reflection is because we are approaching another year-end and turn of the calendar. Partly it’s a reaction to the ongoing cram session known as the “lame duck” Congress which, like other times during the political calendar, is filled with lots of speeches, interviews, talking heads (not the band unfortunately) and hot air in general that is probably doing as much to contribute to Global Climate Change as any coal-fired power plant.
It’s also because as I sit here contemplating another post – staring at that taunting, blinking cursor, I wonder if anyone is getting any benefit from this exercise (I mean, besides my own ego, I suppose).
Then it sort of dawned on me as I was trying to get Spencer (the cute one on the right hand margin of this page) into his sneakers and snow suit and car seat. This was an opportunity for a life lesson for the future heir to all that I possess (or at least my family name – which is more important than anything else in the long run, I think).
As Spencer squirmed and wailed in protest to the limits on his personal freedom I was imposing, I reminded him that he might want to get used to the simple fact that the universe simply is absorbing his energy. And after all is said and done, the gnashing of teeth, spilling of tears and biting of lip (all on Spencer’s part, mind you), we’re back to where we started and we’ve just gotten a bit older. In Spencer’s case, this is sort of a routine that we’ve gotten into as summer turned to fall and now winter. (It was much easier when we didn’t have to put on so much restrictive outer gear.)
So his wailing reminded me of all the things that we do throughout our days. Hustling here and there. “Deadlines and commitments” as Bob Seger (another BIG TIME favorite of mine) would say in another favorite song. All of this made more stressful by the holiday with its artificial consumer-driven shopping spree that is upon us.
And after all is said and done, we are, in the end, left with nothing – just ourselves. This could be a bit Buddhist in outlook. And that’s not bad as a life lesson either.
So what should matter in the end? We work; we play; we sound off about all sorts of major and minor grievances (‘how dare that guy take my parking space at the mall’ sort of thing).
But what matters in the end is who we are left with. We are left with ourselves and all the energy spent is sort of like a furnace used to mold the metal that makes us up. Sometimes the fire can burn us up and other times makes us stronger. (Remember the old line: “What doesn’t kill us, makes us strong” or maybe your dad telling you that “it builds character.)
So as life lessons go, I’m hoping that Spencer will one day understand it.
For the rest of us in the here and now, I go back to my favorite holiday movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart (in black and white of course). George Bailey feels like a failure and a disappointment to his family. But in the end he realizes how rich he really is and how rich life is with him in it. (Thanks for the lesson, Clarence).
That’s another life lesson I hope that Spencer understands someday. For the rest of us, I hope we can understand that now.
When I first started this post today, I wondered whether anyone really cared about what it is that I say or think. Then, I remembered George Bailey. And if just one person gets something valuable out of these reflections on reflections of mine, then maybe it’s not a whole lot of sound and fury but maybe it really does signify something.
So if anybody’s out there, thanks for stopping by. And don’t be a stranger. Let me know what you’re thinking and are looking for when you next stop by.
Best wishes to you during this season of peace.