Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"You Can Only Believe..Or Not": Edelweiss, Part II

“I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now, at the first renewed view of him, they spontaneously revived, great and strong! He made me love him without looking at me.” ~Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre


“Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music; perhaps . . . perhaps . . . love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.” ~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea
“You have a... remarkable memory." 
"I remember everything about you. You're the one who wasn't paying attention.” ~Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

Its been a rough day, Folks.  The sort of Unstable and Insecure Tuesday that requires this Rainbow Haired Gal to walk a tight rope...knowing that if she loses her balances, for only a moment, she'll fall off her high wire, plummet toward earth, and land on the pavement with a pronounced SPLAT!  As I sit here typing away, I am hanging precariously from that wire by three fingers.  In all honesty,  part of me wants to give up, let go, and descend into a torrent of tears.  However, as one might suspect, being scrapped off the sidewalk, deposited into a plastic Walmart bag, and glued back together is a nasty business so this Hysterical Historian is still holding on for dear life.  In my humble opinion, there is only one benefit to being a Trembling Mass of Insecurity and Fear: As I seek shelter from the storm, I realize living life among in the Cold Mountains, among the jagged rocks, causes even the gentlest of souls to pull on a protective covering.  Thus, when presented with a predicament, rather than reacting to that protective instinct with anger, I can consider another option.  What is that option?: Setting one's Own Protective Armor Aside and considering Someone Else's Perspective for a moment.  Sounds easy, right?  Well, I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it ain't!   Most of us who are trudging through a desolate and forlorn place search for Edelweiss, a Starry Flower, to brighten our days.  Hoping for a reprieve from Cold.  Yet, making such a long and arduous journey requires us to obtain plenty of padding from life's blows.  In fact, some of us live our entire lives in those Mountains, like Gray Moss.  Thus asking us to set aside our protection from the elements is quite a hefty request, my friends.  For my part, only that knowledge that with a Little Love and Care, Gray Moss will transform into Edelweiss, allows me to stand exposed.  Even with that vital knowledge, I understand the metamorphosis will be difficult one.  Becoming a Starry Flower demands a frightening measure of vulnerability.  For this Self Protecting Weblogger, the only way to overcome that fear is by allowing anxious concern for another person to outweigh the anxiety.

In fact, in order to even attempt to allow Concern triumph to over Fear I am forced to "close my eyes...and repeat my secret catechisms" (Iain Banks' Wasp Factory): "Love is not affectionate feelings, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far it can be obtained." (C.S. Lewis)  Personally, I find comfort in that definition.  Listen, if Love is measured by my ability to swoon, I'm in trouble, Folks.  Sure down deep, this Lady is a Princess Buttercup at heart, dying to proclaim:

"I know I cannot compete with the Countess in skills or wisdom or appeal, and I saw the way she looked at you. And I saw the way you looked at her. But remember, please, that she...has other interests...for me there is only you. Dearest Westley--I've never called you that before, have I?--Westley, Westley, Westley, Westley, Westley,--darling Westley, adored Westley, sweet perfect Westley, whisper that I have a chance to win your love.' And with that, she dared the bravest thing she'd ever done; she looked right into his eyes.” ~William Goldman

Edelweiss Moss
However, My Friends, I cannot help but notice that The Princess Bride is a book.  Buttercup and Westley are simply fictional characters, not Living, Breathing, Human Beings full of Complexities and Paradoxes.  No Sirree.  Such a declaration might "only end in tears" (Bartok the Bat, Anastasia)  Even if we throw aside the great risk, not a person on earth could live under the weight of being either a Westley or a Buttercup.  No one is always perfect, sweet, and adorable.  We all have faults, flaws, and insecurities, the ones we were born with and the ones fate gave us over time.  Rather,  I believe "to love someone means to see him as God intended him." (Fyodor Dostoevsky)  Careful now, Dostoevsky's definition doesn't mean idolizing another person.  No such a strategy is inherently destructive.  Pedestals are uncomfortable both for the person looking up and the one forced to look down.  No, in my opinion, it means forgiving miscommunication and injuries because we care about the core of another person.  We look beyond the sting of insult because hanging onto that moment is not worth losing someone special.  And let's face it.  Most of us would do well to remember our own feet are made of clay.  The Dark Spots on my personal character abound.  Loving the Dysfunctional Mess that is Jennifer Nicole requires an Abundance of Grace.  And perhaps that is what becoming Edelweiss means: Giving and Receiving Grace.  Doing so requires us to become Vulnerable.  To stand naked in front of another person with our hearts open and hands held out knowing we are at his or her mercy, but unable to determine the reaction we will receive.  And that is the thing, my Friends.  "You can't know.  You can only believe...or not." (C.S. Lewis)  For my part, I think I'll choose to believe.  Believe in the character of others. Believe that Dandelions take time to grow.  Believe that Gray Moss, like myself, can become Edelweiss.  This evening, I am frightened, insecure, and close to tears once again, but "I do not believe the darkness will endure." (J.R.R. Tolkien) Instead, I think I'll say: "I came here quietly because there was need of me, that some blossom might brighten these solitude."

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