Thursday, February 21, 2013

However you can

 
It is mystical, the workings of God, when we are brave enough to see how deftly he weaves. This is my philosophy journal entry for the evening. I'm putting a little too much work into it, but really, it's about what I get out of it. Not what Mr. Philosophy thinks is too much:
 
Forgive me if this suffers from incoherence. The last four days of Thera-Flu are taking toll in the form of pressured thought and near giddiness to the point that I started raving over the first seven pages of Aristotle on the way to the 10th Annual Hunger Banquet tonight, and I must have made him sound something amazing because my oldest daughter is now asking when she gets a turn with my Ethics text. And I must say he is amazing. I'm just not certain M-- is going to concur once she gets into the meat of the argument and finds she has to work for it. I'm beginning to see her and my oldest son as rather impressionable. We've been having lots of philosophical conversations lately over dinner and the lack of dinner. Maybe it's the genes. I'm beginning to wonder why I didn't stumble onto philosophy sooner, and I'm doing my best not to be bitter. Though I'm certain God had something to do with it. He waited to spring it on me when I'd be unable to get distracted from finishing this blasted degree for lack of financial aid, but I've already discussed that.

Aristotle did too. Perhaps that's why I think he's amazing. The years and years I had to explain to my family that although there was no money in any of the areas of study that found me veering off course (let alone the paths to which I did commit) lent to an all-around education which in some respects qualifies my judgement as good. Rational principle knowledge would be such a wonderful endowment. I'm good at spur of the moment gut-inferred decisions, and equally adept at second guesses. So perhaps more education is in order...

Before he died, my father was a professional student. I'm not certain how many degrees he had. Perhaps veering off course is in the genes. Aristotle has my back, "all knowledge and every pursuit aims at some good." And as I do enjoy happiness I'm not against chasing both things I know for myself and the counsel of those aiming at right. Until this evening, or more clearly especially this evening, I got a clearer understanding of the politic life invested in this pursuit of knowledge. The Hunger Banquet thing... Total impulse. Sometimes I think God speaks to me best that way. Rounded up children. Brought the ex. Sat for tortillas, beans and rice, because, unlike my parents, I can't take my brood for a month of third world cultural immersion in the barrio of Juarez. And no, it didn't come close to inspiring the kind of poverty I've witnessed. But this beautiful, beautiful woman, Lindsay Hadley, representative for the Global Poverty Project, spoke about vulnerability and loving people, authenticity and doing what we can with whatever abilities we have because we love so deeply, and she literally moved me to tears.

Aristotle harps on seeking honor. I'm not doing that. Seriously.

Before I moved here, two and a half years ago, I took a leap of faith and for three years I gave everything I had to run a non-profit ballet school geared at providing arts education to low-income kids at the same time fostering in them a dedication to their public education and desire to provide service to their community. The program never met the vision I had for it, and sometimes I got privately angry that people gave the endeavor so little credit. But before I closed the school to finish my education in English, (because my years of collegiate and professional dancing wreaked havoc on my hips) I provided joy to 50 students. In my "free" time I also volunteered at the local high school choreographing musicals, working with casts of 80-120 hormone-ridden kids. And I ran a dance company of my own for a full season, providing continuing dance performance opportunities to 12 graduated college students and a number of the youth from the community. People still ask if I'll come back to teach. For the dozens I worked with, I don't think they have any idea the impact they had on me.

But in the time I've been in Provo, in the atmosphere of so much negative experience, I forgot what it was that I left behind in Idaho. Moreover, I think I forgot what capabilities I brought with me. I won't say I'm done dancing, even though my body and age say otherwise. But I have so much more in my repertoire to offer. I've been searching ever since I left the hospital two and a half weeks ago. (Has it really only been that long?) What comes next? What do I do with the rest of my life now that everything I'd thought would happen has faded back into that illusory black hat from which they sprung?

Aristotle (at least the first seven pages), Ms. Hadley, they both say the same thing--Do good, however you can.

(Apologies. Rambling. Crying too... Thank goodness you don't have to be present for that. Sheesh. Either gotta lay off the Thera-Flu, or find my blasted health again.)

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