Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras: Don't Hold Back

Sam's Multi - Dimenionsional Mask Project, 3rd Grade

“You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world,
that is something you are free to do
and it accords with your nature,
but perhaps this very holding back
is the one suffering you could avoid.”

Franz Kafka

"Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding . . ."

Robert Frost

These cautionary words against withholding seem to be true in so many ways: personal communication, relationships, growth, ambition, dreams and desires. Or how about my life - long To - do list? What I withhold from it all is what makes me weak, and the biggest weakness of all is how long it takes me at every single juncture to realize that indeed it is myself I am withholding. When will I ever learn to live and let live, to "give myself outright"?

The Gift Outright
The land was ours before we were the land's.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia.
But we were England's, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak.
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.


Robert Frost, 1874 - 1963

Sadly Frost's poem only works at the National level if we suspend for a moment the painful knowledge that in fact the land, when we arrived, was not entirely "unstoried, artless, unenhanced." But that is another story.

And one more thought from Kafka, 1883 – 1924:
"You may not destroy someone's world unless you are prepared to offer a better one."

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