jeudi, juin 25, 2009

The moralizing voice

With Mr. C and his dad safe in London, wandering from Madame Tussaud's to Ripley's Believe it or Not, I'm taking the DQ up to New Hope for a few days of shopping,canoeing, eating, and complaining about how her feet hurt on the trail by the Delaware.

I've been realizing what a dour, self-martyred complainer I'm in danger of turning into -- so easy to condemn in others, so difficult to recognize in myself. Overwork has made me vigilant about my perpetual fault, oversensitivity. It's a gift when it helps me to read a room or empathize with someone else, and a real bane when I start feeling sorry for myself. Having run out of a very tough board meeting last week, close to tears, I said to my colleague apologetically, "I'm not having a lot of fun right now." Yes, she'd noticed, she said to me, accepting of my frailty.

But exhaustion is only a partal excuse.

I have friends, of many income brackets, who know how to have a good time. A walk with a friend. A nice dinner out. A few mildly risque photos (not sure about these)? But I need to push myself to be a little more daring -- and willing to quell the moralizing voice (ancestral) that says it's not OK to laugh and love and even spend while others are suffering.

I think that it probably is Ok for us to enjoy life -- as long as we do something constructive about the suffering, too. There's a real difference between morality and moralizing, and too often I pair the two. A common fault.

How do you work this tension out in your life?

6 commentaires:

norman pease a dit…

I don't know Elizabeth, I understand what you are saying, but for me at least I don't feel the conflict. Suffering is always here, no matter what. I help those I come into contact with. How does your feeling bad about enjoying life help those that suffer? How do you honor creation, but not feeling wonder and joy. Accept gifts with grace and share the joy.

Offcenter a dit…

Well, I didn't say it was healthy, did I? Actually, I can't even blame my parents or grandparents. I had some wonderfully accepting, loving ancestors. I'm trying to change. ;-)

norman pease a dit…

well yes, but were you not raised to be aware of the plight of others and to act? You share with many others of your time and upbringing the same difficulty. The difference between our parents time and ours of course is the extent of the suffering we are made aware of. How can we not be moved? 24 hr. news and real time reporting...suffering overload!

Offcenter a dit…

Hmmm...I don't think its a generational thing. Do you? The upper middle class students just before mine talked a good game, but often seem to have mixed up idealism with indulgence (stereotypical sex love and rock n roll generation). The folks I went to college with didn't seem, as a group, anxious to set the world on fire. I think we have idealists in every generation, but, it's true, you are exposed to much more suffering now than in previous times. As you said, you do what you can in a constructive way as possible.

nornan pease a dit…

My thrust was more weighted to how you were parented. As I recall, I thought you said you were taught from a young age to be more worldly aware. This was not taught to me growing up. No, I don't think it is generational, I think it is what values are taught to us by our parents, both word and action. As sponges....we carry all the teaching forward.

norman.pease a dit…

have you and the DQ ever hiked the Lehigh valley gorge? If not, do it....give her feet something to REALLY complain about! Just got back...wonderful! Went with daughter and niece..climbed a shear wet rock face, Amberle had to take my whole weight for about 3 sec. Talk about father daughter bonding!The reward for all the effort was the waterfall. The wonder of creation.