Be tenacious; work hard but try not to let on when it hurts; and above all remember you never have to do it alone unless you want to. You can stop reading now if you want.
We all have them—those times of clarity; those instants when the elusive becomes, for a time at least, exposed. In those moments, if we choose to acknowledge them, our lives can become bigger, better.
For me the first that can be recalled hinged on me ‘breaking’ the clock. My grandparents in Dublin had a beautiful antique clock on the living room mantelpiece. To a curious three-year-old it was a wondrous marvel. Exactly how did it work? To find the answer, the little fellow did what came natural at the time—he took it apart. At some point, with curiosity satisfied, he moved on to the next item of interest. The clock, unfortunately, did not fare so well. It was, of course, fixed in due course. The reminders, of what I had done, however, persisted for some time. Grando McCormack never tired of reminding me of the need of not breaking things, or at least of fixing what I disturbed along the way. Lesson learned.
Another such moment happened during my period of undergraduate study. I majored in physics and one of the many labs I had to do involved electron diffraction. What diffraction is, exactly, is not important for now. What is important was that the lab showed that electrons, which we normally think of as particles, behave like waves also. How can this be so—we generally expect things to be one or the other. New lesson—things are not always what they seem; instincts, though often good, can mislead us. The reality that is out there is not always ‘knowable’ in the concrete sense so we must sometimes br content in either modeling that reality or just plain accepting that some things in life may remain unknowable. But we should never stop the quest, of course!
Yet another ‘moment’ happened somewhere between my nineteenth and twentieth year. I met Josephine and found out for sure that none of us is meant to be alone. Not even geeky, introverted space cadets. Welcoming a second person into your life not only makes you stronger but it also enriches it in more ways than can possibly be enumerated. Yes, we’re still together. It’s been about thirty years or so; married since ’88. Hey—you wouldn’t get a pair of shoes that you weren’t sure were just right, would you? Of course, those shoes can sometimes hurt your poor little feet, especially if you do something stupid. Better stop with this one or those shoes might just kick my a__.
One more lesson came in ’91 with the birth of our first child. Safe to say that the lesson learned was profound enough that in many ways it felt like life started over again…and again in ’92, in ’95 and, finally in ’97. Yes, there are four.
On it goes. Curiosity may have killed the cat but it seems to have served this person quite well. This blog will outline a few of the lessons learned along life’s journey.
Do you know much about ducks? Take a good look the next time. Above the water they’re calm, and relaxed looking but, under the water, paddling furiously. Good thing hardly anyone looks that hard. It’s better that way. How about starfish? They love eating things like clams and such but lack the brute power to just open the clam by force and get what they need. How do they do it? With patience and gentle, persistent pressure. Eventually the clam gives in. That’s how it is with me. Sometimes, though, it just plain does not work out that way. At those times, there’s always Psalm 23…