I’m beginning to worry about “The Grim Weeper.” a nickname I have given to myself. These days I am saturated with complaints, from many friends and strangers to be sure, but mostly from me. I am not happy about this. I complain to me frequently about me, and how I wish I could suck it up, swallow, and deposit the angst out of my being and into the pig sty of discontent where it rightfully belongs. On the way back to the airport from my employer — “Ston Sirces” (as the owner Simon would likely spell it) — I realized what a vain gesture it is to profess “hurt” or “offense” at coincidence, at life. To consider it fitting for me to be hurt by circumstance that has no conscience or pre-ordained direction seems utter folly at this point in my periodic “epiphany” I gurge here at Honey & Quinine. No force I understand gives me a logical reason, a logical option, to declare dismay over events which posses no capacity to create and direct dismay upon some wayfaring hummin’ bean. To proclaim such capacity within me is to give myself credit for more power, greater value in this grand cosmos, than I possess.
That conclusion, thus shared in what is intended as a blurt, imputing “wisdom,” is quickly made meaningless in my haste to claim “hurt” even though I dang-sure know better.
So I have a “heart,” okay? The heart is the sensory element that perceives “hurt” and decides what to do with it. Do I blurt back in anger? What do I gain by blasting retaliatory invective — as I truly want to do — to an incredibly large number of other hummin’ beans who in the coincidence of their own circumstances have hurt me? Yet, my being, my heart, wants to do it, and most of the time I button my inclination because I know it will only escalate my personal War With Coincidence. Yet in throttling back that button, or paperweight, or pin, or nail, or spike driven through my passionate, angry inclination in the interest of disabling that inclination, I become a “smaller me.” The “smaller me” does not become the responder to perceived hurt which the most aggressive form of vanity must swallow.
That said, the vision of the racing sailboat comes to mind, the vessels with tall masts and bleached canvas sails that make the most of whatever wind might be in motion to achieve maximum velocity toward a desired destination. While the size of the sail and how it is manipulated is easy to appreciate, not so visible and easily as important is the keel that rides below the line of sight, below the water. Without the sail, the Star Class racing sailboat might be a powerless skiff. Without the keel that stabilizes the vessel out of sight, the sailboat would be blown over in moderate to high wind, and very sailor knows it’s hard to go places with a capsized vessel.
Perhaps the keel of the human heart is the part that contributes a gift that cannot be appreciated by those who see only the sail. If “vanity” is the sail, perhaps the essential element for the successful voyage of that vanity is the weight of that the heart feels furthest away from the banner fluttering from the top of the mast. Only the greatest vanity reacting to “hurt,” that stabilizes the ships in transit prevents that capsizing and demise of souls set in motion by winds coincidentally friendly and coincidentally not.
Perhaps it is appropriate that the highest form of vanity is to be hurt. Directing our reactions to the keel, rather than unfurling more canvas, is our assurance that “the boat will float” — an outcome hard to appreciate in storm ravaged tides, but a likely outcome regardless of the prevailing tempest.
Live long . . . . . . . . . and proper.