13 December 2013

Have You Heard the One....

I was a little worried yesterday:  There are too many Sojourner in the 21st Century (SITC) posts now to remember exactly what I've said in each. What if I repeat myself?

I abandoned the worry (and, if you know me at all, you know this was easily accomplished) by reducing the issue to its plainest, simplest terms:  I am afraid of writing/saying something I've written/said before. My assumption is that you desire and (require?) something "new" each time you visit my blog and my fear is that you will stop reading (e.g., stop loving me) if I fail to fulfill that desire.

The easiest way to avoid repeating myself is to stop blogging.  This is not a viable option since a) I want to keep blogging; and b) not blogging (i.e., disappearing from view) definitely puts the kibosh on receiving your love...

A more complicated, time-and-labor-intensive strategy would be to re-read SITC from the beginning, creating an index of topics, keywords, images, etc. as I go and then to consult said index before publishing any future posts.  

There's a good chance such an index will eventually be created since I am contemplating transforming the blog into a book; but it hasn't happened yet and, honestly, I am not willing to postpone additional blog posts until such an index is created. I'm just not....

But perhaps my assumption that you want something new every time you visit is incorrect.

Or it might be that even if I repeat myself, you won't stop loving me (or at least reading me). In which case the worry, as is often true, is unnecessary, a waste of psychic time and energy.

I'm pretty sure I've told you the story of my friendship with Laura. That friendship ended -- she chose to walk away -- when I said I doubted we would be forever friends or close friends because our value systems were so very different. I was speaking from what I knew and believed at that point in time. It sounds naive and ignorant to me today but it really was the way I looked at things then.

I thought about Laura yesterday after spending time with the one and only woman in Holly Springs who I call "friend". On the one hand, I am immensely grateful to have a friend in this town. We have some things in common -- including both being aspiring writers and both being transplants to MS from northern states.

On the other hand, we are very different from each other:  I am inclined to value my own counsel above all others -- sometimes recklessly so -- where she is more inclined to base her choices on social convention and diplomacy. In a controversy, I look first at the heart and soul of a person and she more often looks first at the impact and influence of race and politics on the situation.

As I drove away from her house yesterday, reflecting on some of the territory we covered conversationally, I caught myself thinking "I see limits. We will not be forever or close friends." I was almost immediately aware that I was about to make the same mistake I made with Laura 10 years ago.

Some of the movies and novels I love most hinge on pairings of dissimilar personalities, people who are, on the surface, very different from each other, perhaps irreconcilably so, who go on to become good and solid friends. I feel these stories deep in my soul and enjoy inserting myself into them. Such friendships are big, complex, rich and the participants become bigger and more complex people through them.  

It's not an arrangement that I've seen very often in real life. Mostly I've seen (and experienced) "Oh, so you believe THAT. Well, I believe THIS which makes you wrong and I'm outta here." It happens a lot. Intolerance for difference. Inflexible commitment to a perception of "the right" in a given setting.

I recently shared Voltaire's notion that "Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd" with an acquaintance, suggesting that the discomfort and unpleasantness of doubt or "not knowing" is so great that it drives some people to violent conflict or dissolution of relationship. She replied that people who can't see that some things in the realm of human endeavor have been researched and proven to be absolute certainties, should rightly be forsaken; they are impossible and relationship with them is impossible. (Yes, we were talking about religion and the Holy Bible was the archive of "absolute certainties" she offered.)

I'm certain now that I've talked about this before. Maybe some readers realized this early on and stopped reading....and will never return.

Maybe some readers disagree with me (and Voltaire) and the conflict between our perspectives is the final straw -- they stopped reading and will never return. 

There's something in all of this feels like a bottom line of human social interaction. Something that will either be understood and peace will reign or will not be understood and the fighting and breakups will continue. 

Oil and water don't mix but something happens when they come together...