Sunday, November 23, 2008

Joyful Journey 11/23/08

Let me see something tomorrow which I never saw before.

Samuel Johnson

Whenever she came across something new, whether she liked it or not, my grandmother would declare with a loud voice "Well, now I've seen everything." As if there was nothing left in the world to experience, she would make that definitive judgement. But she said it so often that we knew she still had "everything" to see. And so did she. She never stopped looking into things, no doubt to discover something she hadn't seen.

One thing she knew, that I didn't at the time, was how easy it is for us to take the new things for granted. We know we are probably going to see something tomorrow which we have never seen before but we have an automatic "so what" attitude about it. If we stop to observe and consider it, it merely slows us down on our rush to get somewhere else where we may not see anything new, or anything at all.

It has been said that it is not good to allow oneself to be distracted from one's purpose by dallying with things that don't concern one. My answer to that is that I live in the world among human beings and therefore the world and humans are my concern. As Jacob Marley says in Dickens; Christmas Carol "Mankind was my business."

I once heard a homily from a priest who advised his congregation to meddle in other people's lives when they felt they should. I disagree with that. Mind your own business is a tried and true moral with teeth. But being a careful observer of the human scene and putting a hand in to help when help is obviously needed should be an obligation, like the New Yorker who jumped onto the subway tracks to keep a fallen man from being run over by the train, or the injured Greek athlete who dove into the sea to save men from a sinking car. But bustling around unasked in other people's affairs deserves a good slap on the mouth.

Somewhere in my files is a quote from some wise one who says that the purpose of every object is to be observed. Lessons can be learned form everything we come across in life if we are willing to take the time to consider them.

Sometimes the new thing we come to see and consider is right in front of us. I talked with a violinist one day who said that even if you have played the same Beethoven quartet 200 times there is still something to be discovered in it. I found that to be true as an actor. A great play has discoveries to be made no matter how well you know it or how good you are at playing it.

If you go to work tomorrow, or even if you don't, why not look for something you've never seen before? I will also. But i won't say "Well, now I've seen everything," because I will know I haven't, and that's a joyful thing.

DB - Vagabond Journeys


Big Mark 243 said...

Pretty cool.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

The journey is what we look forward too, with lots of new things to see. We relish the people and things we will see as we move into the second half of our lives :o)

a corgi said...

totally agree, DB; don't meddle but watch and wait to see if you can offer assistance

and even after several times reading through the Bible, there is still newness in it; so I get that about a play/script

good entry :)

enjoy your day :)


Beth said...

How about if I say, "Well, don't that beat all!" instead? ;)

We're currently planning our route to Springfield, MO to visit Ken's mom, and we're taking a route we haven't taken before. I hope we'll find some fun and interesting surprises along the way!


Joyce said...

A wonderful entry and Beth made me think of my grandmother who loved to say 'don't that beat all'. lol.
You are a joy to read DB.
Hugs, Joyce

Breezy said...

Hey DB,
I love to sit at the mall or park, and just people watch. Watch how they interact, listen to what they say. Always something new and interesting to observe.
In reference to the violinist.. I can watch a movie, play, hear a song, read a book, or article and get something different out of it every time.
I don't have to meddle, God always has a way of putting people that need my help right there in front of me, so I know what to get involved in.
I think my computer problems are better so I can make comments here now.

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