Monday, March 24, 2014

Musings from Sunny and 70 degrees in Northern California

For those of you still following along, I thank you. There are so many days I’ve forgotten to be grateful.

As I keep chugging away at writing (10,000 words not ready for public consumption), I find myself apologizing. I apologize to my father, to myself, to something or someone unknown, and to you, kind readers, for the plethora of typos Brian keeps finding- EVERYWHERE. Apparently, I suck at proof-reading.

I’m sorry that Daddy never saw me grow up. Parents aren’t any more happy than non-parents in the grand scheme. The difference is in moments of sublime joy which only happen when your child astounds you. When our children discover the world, we have a chance to re-discover the wonder of seeing something, even something ordinary, for the first time. This lasts for a brief moment until the next adventure (read as tantrum), but its brevity takes nothing away from its magic.  The thought that he missed out on so many of those moments makes me really sad for him. For that, I am monumentally sorry.

My mother told me that my father was in the play, Our House by: Thornton Wilder. It’s an amazing work, both for it’s modern simplicity and for the sheer philosophical depths delivered in a regular small town – Grover’s Corners. I think because I knew that (and because Kirk Cameron played the lead in Growing Pains), I was aware of it and dove into it more deeply when I’ve seen it staged and read it in English Class.

Consider the question:

“Emily: Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?--every, every minute?

Stage Manager: No. The saints and poets, maybe--they do some.”

Based on some of the things I remember my father saying, I believe he was like that.

When I was an undergrad, I took a Hegel seminar spring of sophomore year. My father and I both went to Holy Cross (not the junior college across the street from Notre Dame in case you're thinking of Rudy). Sometimes I wonder if my undergraduate education was really a search for connection with his life and experience. Other days, I am quite sure it wasn't.

I thought a lot of Phenomenology of The Spirit could be summed up in this play. Yet, I digress down a path only Philosophy majors dare to tread (the divine living through a continuous cycle of creating and becoming…I can feel normal people’s eyes rolling into the backs of their heads). For the final paper, I researched Thornton Wilder’s journals and biographies. Sure enough, Wilder read and commented on Hegel. There was I, a silly undergrad, making a connection that made the others in my seminar laugh at me (pretension is sometimes a by-product of studying philosophy), but that was a new idea for many. I came up with a new way to think about two seemingly different things.  This is something his legacy gave me – the chance to think and see what others may not. I’ll spare you the rant on why liberal arts are relevant in today’s world – if you don't see it, I can’t make you.

Phew, enough for today.

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