Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Too Far Away

Photographer mercand

Promises are the uniquely human way of ordering the future, making it predictable and reliable to the extent that this is humanly possible. - Hannah Arendt

You have to pay the price. You will find that everything in life exacts a price, and you will have to decide whether the price is worth the prize. - Sam Nunn

In life, many thoughts are born in the course of a moment, an hour, a day. Some are dreams, some visions. Often, we are unable to distinguish between them. To some, they are the same; however, not all dreams are visions. Much energy is lost in fanciful dreams that never bear fruit. But visions are messages from the Great Spirit, each for a different purpose in life. Consequently, one person's vision may not be that of another. To have a vision, one must be prepared to receive it, and when it comes, to accept it. Thus when these inner urges become reality, only then can visions be fulfilled. The spiritual side of life knows everyone's heart and who to trust. How could a vision ever be given to someone to harbor if that person could not be trusted to carry it out. The message is simple: commitment precedes vision. - High Eagle

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. (attributed) - Talmud

Too Far Away

I am not really
here but still I see you hold
us in new strange life,
hold life on your lap,
as if we had a child, born
of our loins, but no
I am not here, have
never been near enough to
even see your need
nor hope to fill it.

August 30, 2009 10:17 AM

Photographer: Unknown


  1. To have a vision, one must be prepared to receive it, and when it comes, to accept it.
    ...And to recognise its importance...

  2. A favourite saying of mine, following on from Jinksy's reasoning: Fortune favours the prepared mind.

    And another that resounds with this post, and stands paradoxically: We make plans and God laughs.

    Thanks, Christopher for a deeply thoughtful poem and post.

  3. I just wanted to thank you too. You are very generous and put so much effort in here. Not only your fine poems which keep coming, but wonderful shared words and pictures from elsewhere, and you get around to visiting others too. I'm very admiring and impressed - and still reading on feeds every day, even if I don't always show...

  4. Jinsky, indeed. And I would add it is difficult to know what will be required, thus the work never ends, the preparation is constant.

    Elisabeth, the ability to be patient with oneself is perhaps paramount in this business of preparation.

    Lucy, it is not so hard to engage in this blogging. For all that it looks complex, I am following a "formula" and it comes together quickly. The poems, I am sure you remember are backlogged, the quotes and photos easy to find. The other writing is far to easy to do than is good for me. I only answer to myself now that my cat died. I could choose another style I suppose that would make my presence here impossible but in this phase, this is just what I do. I am fortunate that my work life allows me some latitude. Thank you for your kindness always. Me too you...I follow you in Google's Reader and see more of you than I let on.

  5. There is so much in this post and yet I am caught there right at the beginning, "Promises are the uniquely human way of ordering the future, making it predictable and reliable to the extent that this is humanly possible."

    Someone close to me is living life in a precarious balance, waiting, waiting for another someone to respond. And so yesterday they were waiting. Today they are convinced that they got a promise. Here I am wondering what has really changed between yesterday and today? Not so much, really, underneath it all. Words were said, but what are words to the fluid life that moves inside and around all of us? Best of intentions and promises go left unfulfilled. This converstaion was with my exhusband. I was a little shocked, right, as my promise to him was unfulfilled, however, he relies on such things as scaffolding to his day.

    I'll have to come back at a different time to reread the rest, Christopher. Always so much to process.


  6. Erin, to know that you have violated a promise is essential, even when it may have been necessary. Even as necessity a broken promise is a legitimate point for grief. It must be grieved and it must be healed in some way. Forgiveness lies very near the source of healing.

    Hannah's statement does not survive the liar, nor does it survive acts of God, nor does it survive the foolish who cannot see clearly.

    Nonetheless, in the ideal of one person receiving a promise from another person wise enough and healthy enough to be qualified to make such a promise, or else committed enough to keep it basically no matter what, Hannah's statement is true.

    I believe that she is no idiot and that she means something a little different. I believe what she means is that the ideal of a promise given and kept can be and often is held sacrosanct and in this way informs contractual law for one instance. I believe it is more like this that one should read her statement.

    Promises and compacts and contracts and treaties form the very basis of our societies and cannot be made unless there is some surety that they will be kept once they are made and accepted.

  7. No, I see it. I live it. I rely on the same sort of scaffolding. I was thinking that perhaps we are lying to ourselves to get through. We put eternity on the block when we only know the moment. And yet we are driven to want to understand tomorrow, when today can go any which way.


  8. Of course you live it, Erin, we all do in nearly every aspect of our lives. And none of us and no society can get it perfect. Many I think do lie about it to themselves and to us.

    The issue, Erin, is power. It is a "BAD THING" to be powerless. It is the why of magic. It is the why of religion in so many ways. The demand to know not what tomorrow will bring so much but that tomorrow will be enough like today and I will be in a good place in relation to that, or else in a place where I can adjust rather than break and fall. Our demands for freedom perhaps mean the most as demands to get out of danger, having the freedom to do that or to prevent it.

    For most of us your day which can go any which way is totally terrifying and unacceptable. Medicine is driven forward by that dissatisfaction in relation to pain and disease. Certain other forms of industry try to profit on protecting us from the unpleasant surprise. Insurance :) It's required. If you have a mortgage you have to have home insurance. If you drive a car you have to have auto coverage. I am 65 and I have to receive Medicare. In a strange way I don't mind. So much of our social world is exactly about shielding us from surprise and out of control. Health measures re our food and water and sewage, for example. On and on. The auto industry tries to make cars which self destruct around us in a crash and protect us while they do that. Major efforts. Even when we go to war we train to stay alive. What?

    I am not trying to be contrary here. I don't really like Ms.
    Arendt's observation so much either. You will lose if you take on the goal of freeing people from this behavior though. You will find some to be overt about the lie they live, to turn snarling at you and say "so what? Go away!"


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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