Monday, January 15, 2007

The Middle Way

Today is Martin Luther King Day. I was only 12 years old when he gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Since then I have heard and seen the speech many times. It is one of the great speeches of history. A few years ago I visited Washington, D.C. for the first time. One of the places I went was the Lincoln Memorial. I walked out of the memorial and down the stairs to a spot where I thought Martin Luther King may have stood when he gave his speech. I closed my eyes and imagined all the thousands of people who were there that day and all of the hope that his words must have given them. Since my visit, a plaque has been placed on the exact spot on which he stood.

Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty I am free at last! -Martin Luther King, Jr.

I recently learned something new about my personality type. I am always learning some new twist into what makes me tick. I've always know I have a rebellious nature. That's not uncommon for those of us who were part of the sixties counter culture. In a book I read recently I learned that people of my personality type are angry with themselves if they don't rebel but are also afraid when they do. Sometimes I feel like the one member of the Alpha Omega fraternity in the movie "Animal House". I realize that some of you are too young to remember the movie and others won't admit that they saw it and liked it. Anyway, there's this one scene where a character is in a position to make a choice. On one shoulder there is a small angel encouraging him to be strong. On the other shoulder is a small devil tempting him to take advantage of the situation. Some days I feel like these characters are riding around on my shoulders. There are days I want to reform the world and make everything better. Other days I want to rebel against everything that's part of the establishment. Sacred cows make wonderful hamburgers. I deal with this tension within myself by trying to walk the middle way. The middle way is the contemplative life. It is the spiritual path. It is the examined life that helps me to not just react to everything but rather make intelligent and appropriate responses to what is happening around me. All of our personalities are a little different. Your tension and my tension may not be the same. The balance that is necessary for contemplation is found in the tension of opposites. It is sometimes a tightrope walk and occasionally I fall off. When I do, I just climb back up on that rope and begin again.

My granddaughter Chloe recently learned a valuable life lesson. Don't let your Grandmother trim your bangs when she is tired....and don't move your head!

Chloe decided at 7:30 AM on Sunday that it was time to get up. She and I discussed it for a few minutes but I was losing the battle. I knew Granny was hugging her side of the bed pretending to be asleep. So Chloe and I got up and went downstairs. We found her baby doll, turned on the Disney channel and then all three of us sat in my chair and covered up. Yes, it was early and I was still tired. However, in these early morning hours with the rain pouring down outside, it was a special moment. We snuggled with her baby doll and one another. How can one not cherish such moments?

1 comment:

Greenwoman said...

What a lovely mental image...

My son is not ready for making babies. He's certainly old enough, but you make me long for it. Thank you. *smiles*