I am about to venture out into the retail world in search of shoes that might pass as reminiscent of the 1870s. Having come up empty yesterday at two Goodwill shops, I’m not sure if I will be successful. It’s interesting taking stock of what’s out there in the resale stores. This is the stuff that people give away…and other people buy. It’s not marketed; it’s not about status or brand. It’s about filling a need with something serviceable. I would do all my shopping at a resale place if I could. That’s probably why my kids call me “cheap”. I don’t get the whole “status and style” idea. I just want to get the job done. I’m not trying to fit into a competitive culture of consumerism. My “work outfit” for my new job will be a reproduction of 19th century pioneer clothing. My “work outfit” for my last job was jeans and a T-shirt with the latest musical production logo on it. I guess I have a different idea of dressing for success.
One of Steve’s favorite fables is The Emperor’s New Clothes. He often sees himself as the little boy at the side of the parade who looks on in bafflement at what everyone else is celebrating and asks, “Why are we doing this?” He sometimes talks about it as being the one who points out the elephant in the room, that glaring awkwardness that no one wants to mention. He’s not judgmental about it, he just wants to discuss it, bring it out into the open, make everyone aware of it. He’s not cynical or sarcastic, he’s genuinely curious. We don’t have a TV, but we do watch basketball games online that often include commercials. Those ads bring up a lot of questions. Why do we sell what we sell the way that we do? Why is sex and violence so prevalent? And stereotypes? Why do we think having a good time is so important? What do we really think is important? And why? Why? What is the Big Idea? Everything comes down to that level, that three year old inside who stands watching and asks, “Why?”
It’s a really good question, I think, and one that I have been trained not to ask. “Theirs not to reason why/ theirs but to do and die.” The military motto, President Bush’s command to go out and spend money rather than debate economic policy, my father’s and the Church’s instructions on being obedient…there are so many examples of hushing up that 3-year-old. I admit that there are times when it’s useful to forgo the philosophical and act decisively and immediately, but shouldn’t we return to the subject eventually and periodically to keep our motivation clear? There are members of society who are watchdogs to our conscience, in a way, and I very much respect them for their courage and thank them for the questions that I forget to ask. I am more characteristically concerned with “How?” I want to do things lovingly, primarily; efficiently, much of the time; and as correctly as possible. That may say a lot about how effective my indoctrination into Judeo-Christian thought was.
Intentionally asking both questions and fashioning a life around the answers we find deep in our experience is the focus of our Saturday Summit (what we call our “relationship discussions”). The poetry prompt I found today on NaPoWriMo’s site challenged me to write a hay(na)ku, which is a recent poetic invention. It’s simply 6 words in three lines of ascending (or descending) measure. One word, two words, three words (any number of syllables) or vice versa. We can link several together as well, we’re told. So, here is my hay(na)ku series and a few photos.
“What is important?”
A good person?”
Shaping my character.