Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Inalterable

Looking in a mirror we see what we have seen so many times before. The number of days we have experienced this disconcerting fact quite obviously depends on the amount of days we are old.

I say disconcerting because so many times we sit in a stupor, or what might be more softly described as philosophical befuddlement, and wonder why do we have to be who we are. Looking in that mirror we see the same person, day after day. So, we begin to wonder….how did this happen? Why am I Seven in Texas, and not Chapek in India?

Why did I get these parents? Why was I born into poverty rather than wealth? What is it like to be Patricia in Seattle? Why did I get crooked teeth and black hair and she got perfect teeth and a big nose? And when we are finished with these wanderings we look again into the mirror and, damn it, there is that same person still looking back at us.

A songwriter captured this feeling with the phrase “No matter how fast I run, I can never seem to get away from me.”

We do this. We run and run and fake this way, then that way. We buy different clothes and we swear we will change this or that. Still, looking back out of the mirror is that same old you. Every time.

Some visualize the demon too long and place a gun to their head. Some choose the escape of drugs. Some slip into mental decline and others cope nicely with this smothering constraint. And in the middle of all this we ask over and over…why me? Why am I me?

I don’t know the answer, and I know that is a big surprise to you. I do think wrapped inside this mystery lie explanations for our behavior. It seems to me that the first order of business is to accept the fact that this is presently inalterable. Maybe the future holds some secret where we can choose to be a new individual each day? Maybe. But it does sound confusing, doesn’t it?

Inherent in knowing that this fact is inalterable comes the twin and painful fact that we must now do the best with whom we are. Again this is likely not a philosophical nugget or thought unknown to you before now.

But we do this dance of confusion with ourselves anyway. We get up and look in the mirror and decide what there is to not like, change, or wish to be different. Why was my father not a millionaire like David’s? The dance with confusion and the inalterable goes on day after day. Week after week. Year after year.

I am reflecting a simple yet inalterable fact. Unless the Creator decides to issue a memo we will not unravel this anytime soon. We are simply stuck with the image in the mirror and the thoughts that reflect our discomfort with these stone facts.

In our discomfort, we grant a tattoo artist the right to push ink into our backs illustrating God knows what. Maybe a snake coiled around a something or other. We decorate ourselves with piercing jewelry. We succumb to alcohol and drugs in an attempt to numb the reality of the recurring image in the mirror. We are cruel to others because we are not them. I could go on with these examples a long while and you could do so as well.

I’ve worked my way to making the obvious more obvious and now I am reluctant to make such a simplistic statement that we should all just decide to love ourselves because we can't change the facts of who we are.

We all already know this don’t we?

And so I guess I am left with another intractable truth.

It is far easier to teach the Truth than it is to practice it.

Maybe tomorrow the image looking back will understand something finer.


Grant said...

You old people sure get maudlin when you dwell upon how close you are to surrendering to grim death. Bloody good thing I decided to become immortal and am therefore spared this problem. Also, your god no longer matters to me, not that he ever did.

Seven said...

Sounds like you're having a swell day!

Seven said...

Oh and 13, not to worry; there are some stupid videos coming!

Ilias- said...

Thought provoking. Lately I wish only to wish for acceptance of what is.

Jack Nasty said...

There is a philosophy out there that we choose, before we are born, who our parents will be and siblings etc. We set up our life in order to learn the lessons we need in this life time. Believe this philosophy or not I think it makes life a lot more interesting! And I think it makes a person more responsible for their life than being a victim.

Rick said...

What the world needs now is another good Popeye cartoon, "I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam." That, and a ban on mirrors.

Seven said...

That's healthy to some degree I believe. But we can choose to change some things too.

Mr/Ms Nasty,
That's very insightful. I don't remember filling out the order blank for this life, but you make an interesting point. Big agreement on the victim thought.

Wise guy. I love that Popeye saying. It dates us both, but its a wonderful simple spin on the philosophy, and besides Olive Oil really dug him!

Leesa said...

Very interesting post.
And, Nasty blew me away thinking I might have signed up for the parents/life I had.

Seven said...

Yea, I'm thinking she/he Nasty may have not met my granddad on my mom's side. Mean old sum-bitch I tell ya. Not the pick of the litter.

Jack Nasty said...

Seven, of course, your ego does not remember the sign up sheet but your true essence does...your soul.

Maybe, your grandad tought you the lesson of "who not to be."

Seven said...

Mr/Ms Nasty,
Distinct possibility you are correct.

Lynilu said...

To carry the theory presented by Nasty another step, I believe the idea is that we write the script so that we experience and grow spiritually by self-challenges. I've been left with the thought in my head many times in the past months/years that I must have thought, when I was filling out that form, that I had one hellava lot I needed to work on! Yeah, seven, the mirror sometimes mocks me and I wonder if I've really done all I was intended to do by this age. Sometimes I don't look. I don't want to have to answer. Fortunately, most days I look and say, "Well, old girl, smile and make things easier. Besides, it makes everyone wonder what you've been up to." It works for me . . . most days. And it does make people wonder! That's just a bonus.

Angie said...

Or in other words.....God grant me the strength to change the things I can, accept the things I can't and the wisdom to know the difference....or something like that. ;)

I think sometimes we get too caught up in chasing perfection that doesn't really exist.

patti_cake said...

Anyone who has the time to sit around pondering THAT much does not have a toddler to contend with!

Seven said...

Something like that, yes.

I know sweetie, but you do understand I have contended with toddlers in the past?
God knows it's exhausting.

Enemy of the Republic said...

If we serve our Creator, then we must believe (or may believe) that our set of circumstances were meant to bring us into our vocation in how we show him in our lives. Some are born to preach, some to teach, some to nurture, some to run businesses--all this forms part of a puzzle that includes God. How, I don't always know? Some it is obvious--writers like Brennan Manning have helped me and I have 3 great pastors at my church. Some do things that are so small yet without them, life would be a whole different experience. Would Johnny Cash have been half the man he was if he hadn't grown up dirt poor and picking cotton? He understood what it meant to work for a living and he had compassion for inmates and people who did wrong, because he had been there himself. It's hard to embrace our bad experiences with the good--we only want the good, but looking farther, we see that we can acheive more with patience.

Sorry so long.

fatty ~ said...

People are going to be, who they are inside, whether they try to hide it, deny it, or change it. But man is not static, and our existence set in concrete. I truly believe i am a different person to who i was yesterday.

The human dynamic is everchanging and ever the same, sometimes we feel close to the truth, sometimes it's so far away.

Seven said...

As always both of you are thoughtful, wise and respectful in the discourse.
I'm blessed you read here.