If you are lucky enough to get older, you probably are rich in ways even well educated college graduates may not understand. Perhaps even you may not be aware of it. I have acquired some, and it sometimes feel as if I am swimming in a sea of this wealth, even though it is hard to define and spend. It is hard to define from day to day as it morphs and flows much like a river or a storm. Such is the contemplation of experience that some call wisdom but I sincerely cannot define as such, at least for myself. However, I now more than ever, understand what it means to say, “The more I learn, the less I realize I know .” Yet I am unable to not try to understand that which surrounds me, even knowing that tomorrow, I may redefine what I thought was true today.
Imagine for a moment, how lonely it would feel to fall from an airplane into an ocean and be surrounded by endless seas, with nothing but the slight security of your life jacket. This is how experience feels to me at this point in my life. It makes me wonder if there is another level of learning before the end of this physical life. If there is, I hope it is where you discover cabinets designed to store this knowledge and a Dewy Decimal System to classify it. Better yet a “Google 3” to help you access it in a quick and meaningful fashion. What does this have to do with cowards and compromise?
One experience I will attempt to share with you, as I am trying to sort it all out, is relationships. Think back in your life to a special family relationship, a marriage or a close friendship; perhaps a relationship with someone who attracted you by their unique and special style. Sometimes it is hard to immediately note what was so special about this person as it was likely several things. They may have kept their house immaculate and decorated with colors that blended, harmonized and coordinated to express their artistic sensitivity. If it was, remember how much you enjoyed lounging in that comfortable chair surrounded by the warmth of this microcosm of peace beauty? You may recall putting your hand down to rest and becoming aware of a beautiful small table, right there, with a cool drink to calm the heat of that summer’s day. How balanced, calm and peaceful it was. A lot of thought went into this. If this was the home of a lady you were dating, this might have catalyzed the dream that made it a permanent relationship. And then you just might have moved in together.
Within a year or so, though the environment she created is still enchanting, it was hard to remember to put a coaster under you glass, and not to leave your magazines on the shiny glass topped table (that surely was meant for magazines like yours). As for the laundry machine, that was 10 years old and still looked show room new, though you took pride in helping with the laundry, the dust of laundry soap that accumulated around the rubber gasket could not be tolerated. Much as it says it the bible, you discovered there was work required in the Garden Of Eden and you were to be one of its workers. If not thorn bushes would grow. Such is the compromise of close relationships, a place where cowards cannot hide. Somewhere in this process deposits are made to your wealth account, though you will be unlikely to get a monthly statement.
To create beauty and harmony, in music, art or in a home requires dedication, practice and desire. This imaginative calm world is an expression of an inner yearning for peace and harmony that seeks appreciation from its creator and her admirers. Those who demand such perfection in their surroundings also give near perfection in much that they do. They are often good partners in life who choose not to simply float downstream with other random objects.
You can live by yourself or with others, it is a choice. I don’t believe anyone lives in magical harmony. Those who claim otherwise lie, or one spouse lives in denial of their dreams. In the Judeo-Christian bible a women’s place is following her husband’s lead and his place is caring for her needs. It is the magic circle symbolized by a wedding ring. It is the biblical recognition of the complexity of living together as husband and wife and a hint at how to achieve it. In less intimate relationships, where less time and space is shared, the demands are less but not so dissimilar. The children of people who choose not to float down stream with the current, can move out and stay away or be part of and learn to grow. As I see it, we can live alone or live in a compromise. Compromise is not a dirty word or a place where coward hide.