Posts Tagged ‘wise’

The disparity between what I want and what I get can be uncomfortable for me.

I have this, I want that — ah.

This morning, another option occurs to me.

This morning, I open my bag of steel-cut oatmeal and put my nose down to top and, ah — a fresh, oaty, grain-kissed aroma rises to greet me.

My wife pushes the button on my coffee maker and ah —  a roasted, nutty, rich java fragrance wafts through the kitchen and surrounds me.

I go out to my backyard patio, which this summer is dressed in green lawn and yellow flowers and silver pond water and sit with my coffee and read the proverbs of King Solomon and, ah — an emotionally-energizing and rationally-enriching concept passes through my frontal lobe.

Wisdom has the sweet smell of contentment in it.

To reach for my cup, to walk to my gardern, to read my wisdom literature, to sit quietly in my garden and reflect —  this is a present-tense good that quashes that ubiquitous, unrelenting universal push for more.

It is enough for me in this moment to be able to walk, to be able to reach, to be able to taste and smell, to be able to sit quietly. It is enough and more than enough in the morning to have someone else in the kitchen to start my coffee for me.

There will be time, in the push and shove of time, for the working out of my good dreams and passionate visions.

But for now, the simple, gentle movements of the morning,  with someone who loves me, far removed from the bluster and press of my daily ambition — so frequently fraught with stress and anxiety — these are most beautiful, refreshing and precious.

Wise stuff is good stuff.

Last night I thought of all the good mayors in Mexico who have been murdered in the drug wars. Wow, tough their families and their towns.

Today I found myself fascinated by the ebook publishing phenomena. We read differently now, on Kindles and Nooks and ipads, and so I must think differently as a reader, a print consumer and a writer.

I love to notice it, life, the changes, and think about how to respond.

It comes to me more and more, that to be wise is to realize that nothing in life is unworthy of my attention. Nothing is mere background. Everything qualifies as meriting focus.

I ache for it. All who want to know do  —  new experiences, fresh observations, other interpretations, possible theories, startling conclusions, needed disambiguations of the everyday and familiar and miraculous too.

Wise acknowledges it all, the supernatural and the  human.

The other day a college aged girl told me that she eventually dumped all boys because they simply, in the end, didn’t measure up to her high standards. She said it, then said she didn’t want to be like that anymore.

Why? She realized that her perfectionism was sabotaging perfectly good opportunities for friendships. Bingo. Get wiser, be more tolerant.

In the 17th Century Fenelon had this figured out, noting that perfection is the only thing perfectly tolerant of imperfection. Whoohoo! Good! Nice!  People so misjudge the judgments of the ultimate judge by thinking him mainly judgmental in nature.

And the  wise girl get it as she  is interested it all,  in shadows on her backyard fence and in the shadowy projection of her own desire to be perfect onto others.  A trophy boyfriend; the secure woman doesn’t need it.

Here is the deal; to get wise  is to get fascinated with oneself and everything within ones imperfect realm.

Eugene Peterson, in his introduction to the wisdom literature of The Message  version of the Bible comments that “Wisdom insists that, “nothing in human experience can be omitted or slighted.”

So wisdom literature, the psalms and proverbs, take on all topics and all particulars that wisdom can think of.  Wisdom is fascinated by both the large idea of  science and by the small observation of the micro-hairs on the bottle fly’s feet.

Peterson observes that this comprehensive perspective on life is the content of the Biblical psalms. “The Psalm are indiscriminate in their subject matter — complaint and thanks, doubt and anger, outcries of pain and outbursts of joy, quiet reflection and boisterous worship. If it is human, it qualifies.”

Beautiful, neutral, ugly, all of it, yes!

If it is human, it qualifies for a psalm, for a proverb, for a second look, for inclusion into the canon of what is spiritual.

Jesus turned water into wine at Cana. The supernatural coexisted with the mundane. It was a miracle of a most everyday and normal kind, for as C. S. Lewis has pointed out, in the fields grapes left begin to turn into wine naturally.

Do we want to be wise, to traffic daily in wise stuff? Then we must reject nothing as unworthy of thought, hope, redemption, promise.

Think broadly and beyond.


Grumpify or Gentlize?

Posted: May 21, 2010 in people
Tags: , ,

In college I majored in literature. I love Shakespeare! The verbal density; it is rocket fuel for me. I taught literature at the high school and college levels before switching to people farming,  my current passion. My daughter is now a lit student at the university. I love it.

I’ve traveled to England, spent time in London. This year my daughter will  spend a semester in London studying literature. Cool!

Like produces like.

It’s beautiful; it’s normal; it’s good. It can be a problem.


It’s the problem that occurs if or when we get after people to be like us. It’s fine for people to make a choice to choose to be like another person. It’s not fine when people make a choice to force someone else to be like them.

The problem comes in the form of the criticism, the evaluation, the judgment that expects, that demands, that requires sameness, conformity.

Is this common? You betcha! I hear old people whining about how things aren’t right, how they aren’t the way they used to be. I hear young people who are very ramped up about what they like, and don’t like. They are strong, on the attack, very confident that some things “rock” and some not.

Fine to have preferences, not fine to impose them. “Oh, we don’t do that,” everybody pretty much claims. “It’s not good to force things, right?” 

And yet we do.

Politics, religion, education, business, parenting — so many areas of life take up the sword and hack, hack, hack at people to change, to conform, to measure up.

You hear it, “You can’t trust politians.” Really? All of them? None of them are trying to help us?

If you are a good Christian, then you will … blah, blah, blah. Someone told me recently that all Christians should vote according to a slate a Christian organiztion has published.  Wow! Really? I think God expects each of us to take responsibitity to judge for ourselves what is right or wrong.

Teachers are now, according to some, doing too much teaching to the tests. All teachers? 

The people who lost their homes in the recession were too greedy and unwise and the took bad loans. Wack, wack wack!

Parents are too busy these days to raise their kids.  Smack, smack, smack.

Grumpiness, criticalness, opinions, “my understanding”  often becomes a club. We pound the crap out of people with our thinking, while claiming to merely be making a statement and clarifying our opinion.

Two options present themselves as a person matures: gentlize or grumpify, become gracious and understanding or overgeneralize and become as narrow and mean and dangerous as a switch blade knife.

Like produces like is at its best when it is inspired, at it’s worst when it is whalloped and hacked into another person’s softly developing personality.

Unwise ones get hard. Wise ones mellow and soften as they bump  along through life.

Wise ones? They inspire  the “like” not require it.