Too late for conversations
From an old journal
I suppose it’s too late to find people online much anymore. The ones I am talking to are either too tired or too enraged in their own affairs to care much for philosophy, eternity, or peace. That’s alright with me, though. I’m too far inside my own head to be of much use in that interpersonal ether anyway. There is a story of a monk fresh in my mind that is distracting me from the real world. Perhaps it is the real world breaking through that false busy-bee drama.
There was a monk, long ago, who was loved by all the other monks for his happiness. From waking till sleep this monk would smile and laugh. When others were sad or angry, he would still smile and laugh. In fact, none of the other monks had ever seen him sad or upset. So one day, when the monk was dying, laying in his bed and still laughing all the while, a young monk asked him, “How is it that you are so happy? Especially now, when we are so sad to be losing you?” And the old happy monk looked at the young boy and smiled his warm smile and said to him, “When I was a very young boy, I was sad. And when I saw an old monk smiling and laughing and going on, I asked him how it was that he was so happy all the time, and he told me, ‘I choose to be’. From that day I understood. When I wake up each morning, before I am sad or happy or angry, I decide at that moment how I want today to be. Will I be angry, upset, melancholy? Or will I choose to be happy that day. And so, I choose to be happy, every day.” With those words, the old monk died, a smile still on his face.
Sometimes, most of the time, I wish I could be that old monk. I wish I had that sense of self awareness in the mornings, that I could make a decision like that. I wish I knew when I was becoming sad that if I wanted to, I could choose to be happy. I wish I was that smiling, loving monk. I love my melancholy too much, however. I revel in that sadness. I find the dreary dream-state to be a comfort, like an old blanket. And it triggers such wonderful ideas in my mind, such creativity that I find fruition in it as well. If sadness had nothing for me, if it were always unwanted, perhaps it would be easier to choose a happy path.
When I broke up with Jen, long long ago, I didn’t have a good reason for doing it. I had thought earlier that perhaps I hadn’t meant to date her. I thought that perhaps it was to be closer to Colleen. Was that such a horrible idea? I think I felt guilty that it was. Did I love Jen, certainly. Did that justify why I initially started dating her? The guilt said nothing could justify that, no matter how I felt. So I ended things with her, without real reason, completely out of the blue. I found solace soon after with another, and the matter was lost to the past. It was over before I had to worry about whether I was right or wrong. She was no longer my problem. Others took her place. But since then, I have looked back. The smoke long cleared, the way is easy to see the mistakes and to judge them. I was not justified to end things, but nor was I to start them. The problems I caused with that selfishness were large and came back to bite me often and painfully, but there were good things as well. So many good things. The other night I found a book of poetry of hers that she gave me towards the end of our relationship. I read each of the poems, loved them, and let them go.
But I fell... Deeper and deeper into the folds, Further into the flame. You love fire better than I, I wish I had your eyes again. I wish I had a great many things, Things fashioned of oceans and air, That I could wrap these moments in So I could remember I was there. Oh the colors, All the colors, That tempt my weary mind To the place beneath your glaciers That you would never find. I long to be its queen once more; A rank yet to be touched, Until I step down from my throne In dreams of forever and such. And these dreams refuse to leave me, Threatening a thaw, Allowing you to see me In springtime's hungry maw. Regard me as a statue, Abhor my seething cold, Just don't forget I dreamed of you, Though I'm too hard to hold. Deeper and deeper into the folds, Farther into the flame. You love fire better than I, I wish I had your eyes again. - Jen Kennedy (March 16, 1997)
I really do wish there were someone around to talk to in these late night hours. It’s traditionally been the role of my girlfriend through my years. Perhaps that is a special requirement I have: late night conversationist. I could certainly use it these days. Maybe journals are filling that role. I think it might be nice to hear back from her sometime, though. Is that a feature to request on their boards? Anyway, these curtains are pulled back, or drawn forward, whichever way you look at it. I am vividly here, yet distant and aware. Meditative is the real name for it, but I don’t think this state was meant for what I do in it. Somewhere, an old monk is rolling over in his grave. That is just my way, though. I love the melancholy feelings. I choose them far too often. I prefer to relive my mistakes than to let go of them. I take pleasure in revisiting those painful moments. They are the fragments of my scrapbook surrounded by stars and stickers. Is it so wrong? Perhaps. I’d rather not forget.
I wish I had your eyes again.