Way back in 2001, my English teacher set up a class debate by drawing a horizontal line across the white board. He wrote “Logic” on the left end of the line and “Emotion” on the right. He gave each of us a marker and instructed us to write our initials somewhere on the continuum of logic/emotion closest to whichever we believed was most valuable. He forbade us from claiming the center, and then asked us each to verbally justify our answers. Although I’ve always known myself to be a practical sort of girl, I wrote my initials on the side of emotion and justified their placement by saying that logic had led me to the conclusion that emotion was more valuable. 🙂
While I was, of course, being facetious, I’ve lived the past twelve years without significantly changing my position on the continuum. However, as is only proper for January, I’ve been reflecting on the past year, and its events, and sadly, 2012 seems best understood as a clumsy dance of logos to music meant for pathos. In the obstacles of the year, I’ve been forced to make many logical decisions that I didn’t want to make though they’ve seemed very right and my heart has seemed unreliable. And I’m forced to acknowledge the slow shift of my initials towards the boldly written letters of a high school English teacher that read “LOGIC”.
By and large, our world has lost its sense of wonder. We have grown up. We no longer catch our breath at the sight of a rainbow or the scent of a rose, as we once did. We have grown bigger and everything else smaller, less impressive. We get blase and worldly and sophisticated. We no longer run our fingers through water, no longer shout at the stars or make faces at the moon. Water is H2O, the stars have been classified, and the moon is not made of green cheese. Thanks to satellite TV and jet planes, we can visit places once accessible only to a Columbus, a Balboa, and other daring explorers. There was a time in the not too distant past when a thunderstorm cause grown men to shudder and feel small.
Brennan Manning in THE RAGAMUFFIN GOSPEL (90).
Although it isn’t practical to be a world-traveling English teacher evangelist marathoner with a house and roots in AZ, a three-book deal with Harper-Collins, a summer home in Italy and a spiritually-magnificent assassin boyfriend she met at Comicon, I sometimes wonder if it isn’t crucial that I keep believing in the possibility of those dreams and this life. But to believe, I must combat my natural disposition, and do so in the face of a skeptical, rain-on-every-parade, abandon-emotion-and-dreaming, oh-so-sensible, invulnerable sort of world.Yet, I’m reminded that there are too few people who dream, and talking with a dreamer is almost always a chocolate covered pill from Miracle Max to our mostly-dead hearts.
When I started blogging several years ago, it was important for Still Growing to always be more than a cheap laugh. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good “That’s what she said” as much as the next girl, and it’s so easy to fall into a clever, cynical tone that everyone relates to. However, the ease with which we mock the imperfect is often unsettling because it’s mean-spirited or filthy, and we don’t laugh nearly as often at the sight of sunflowers.
When I think of the role I want myself and my blog to play in people’s lives, I can see no worthier cause than the fight for dreams and innocent laughter… because so few people actively struggle for those things. Most apathetically acquiesce to the warriors of reason and reality. Such icy elements must be tempered with warmer ones if we wish to maintain our humanity. For, if I can’t believe I will someday write a good book that will change the world, I am left with no reason to write. I am left with no reason to do the things that are difficult and undervalued in the world
and they disappear.
So as I look back on 2012 and consider that it might just have been the year that I gave up on dreaming because I saw no reason to dream, I’m reminded that the reason for dreaming can’t be communicated in practical words regardless of the facetiousness of a high school student trying to win a debate; it must be communicated in the words of dreamers. It must be tied to a red balloon and floated across the sky, leaving sparkling pink ink that’s only visible in the early morning sunrise. It must be danced across the rooftops, into the bedrooms of sleeping old men and whispered into ears that can’t fight away the nightmares. Dreams and innocent laughter must be justified by poetry and painted fingernails, because no one will understand their necessity without experiencing their wonder. 🙂