I had a revelation today and, as seems to be the case nearly all the time now, it came while I was writing a Facebook comment.
I forget what prompted it and I lack the Facebook and/or Google skills to find out, but it came to me like this :
“There is so much more to life than that which makes sense. ”
And the second I finished typing it, I could feel what a huge revelation that was for me. I am talking massive, blinding light, shifts the very foundation of my being level eye-opening insight here.
Suddenly I grapsed what was meant by all those “Stop making sense!” posters and buttons were talking about. Until that moment,. I hated that stupid expression. It seemed to be a call to chaos.
And making sense is what I do. I figure shit out. And when I do, it becomes part of my integrated body of knowledge that all fits together like Tinkertoys.
And that’s why the very idea of ceasing to make sense made no sense to me.
But now I get it. Today, I got a glimpse of just how limited my mind and my life were by this rigid cage of rationalism. There is a whole universe of enlightenment and wonder outside the walls of my cold prison, and my insistence on things making sense before I accept them as true has denied it to me.
Let’s call this world the Rainbow Connection.
Because honestly, Kermit has the right idea here and it has taken me till the age of 44 to realize it and get a glimpse of what I am missing.
The song has always had a huge emotional resonance for me. I only have to hear that opening banjo riff and I am reduced to a puddle of nostalgia, warmth, and wonder, as well as a lot of other emotions that I could not name.
All I knew before today was that this song, and other things like it. contain something – some emotional nutrient – that I desperately need and that I therefore treasure above all other potential stimuli.
I can see that nutrient now, and it could go under a lot of names. I could call it warmth or wonder or joy or a lot of other words that would certainly apply to what I am talking about but which would not really get the idea across.
There is, in fact,. only one word which applies to this emotion, and it is a word with which I have a very troubled history.
That word is innocence.
It is the touch of the wholesome, healthy, happy world in which I have never belonged. It is the warmth of pure innocent joy. It is a place where dreams really do come true and where things always work out for the best and where the only limit is your imagination.
Little did I know just how limited my imagination was before today.
As patient readers know, for most of my life I have had a “sour grapes” attitude towards innocence. I told myself that innocence was just another word for ignorance and ignorance was nothing to be proud of so why should I want to be ignorant?
What an ignorant view!
But deep down, I was jealous, and wished I could be part of that good strong healthy robust world that I saw in other families. Even though I could not have named it, I was keenly aware of the difference between my life and the life of my classmates, and I longed to be part of their world, which seemed so much warmer than mine.
Now I can see that part of the equation was that they felt things without restraint, and validated their emotions by acting on them. They gave love and got it without any part of them worrying about whether it made sense or could be somehow justified.
Even typing that made me feel the cold bite of my rational restraints. How fucked up is it to need a rational reason to love somebody, or to let their love in?
It makes me feel like a monster. Not in the moral sense, but in the sense of being so very dead inside that it’s like I am a zombie. A monster in the sense of realizing just how fucked up I am, not to mention just how fucked up my childhood was.
The two are related.
Heartbreaking memory : I remember one time, when I was very young, when my family went to a old-fashioned tourist trap on PEI called Rainbow Valley.
And as usual, I was wandering on my own. And I came upon this family that, to me, seemed perfect. They all radiated such warmth and goodwill and happiness. The parents were smiling as they watched their kids (two boys and a girl) have a good time, and the kids seemed to me like they were having all the fun in the world, and this touched something deep inside me that I was far too young to understand.
So I just kind of…. followed them around. Basically, I stalked them. I stayed as close to them as my shyness would allow so I could continue to drink in the wonderful vibe I was getting from them.
And I am pretty sure the mother saw me because I am pretty sure she smiled at me one time. I imagine she wondered who this odd little redheaded kid was that was following them like a needful shadow.
Of course, eventually they left and I drifted back to my own family and sat with them having a picnic and everything seemed normal.
And yet, the emotional image of that other family lingered on in my mind.
I was far too young to ask myself why that other family felt so different than my own. In fact, that’s the kind of question I was unable to ask until my late twenties because to question one’s family is to question the very foundations of your reality and it takes a certain amount of maturity and detachment to do that.
And besides, I was far too “sensible” for that. I would never had trusted the feeling of lacking something long enough to come to understand it. I would have cut off that negative emotion long before it could have told me anything.
And it’s that kind of intolerance for unpleasant emotions that has kept me in this bullshit rationalist cage for so long.
So here I am, a blind man suddenly given sight, and I really don’t what to think about this whole experience.
But that’s okay.
I’ll just feel about it instead.
I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.