when a drowning man struggles
Mar 21, 2002 12:23 PM
by Eldon B Tucker
Hey Eldon, when a drowing man struggles in the water, doing
whatever he can to save himself, is he going to be worried about
whether his swimming style is "OK," or not?
Sometimes life is that way. Survival comes first. Faced with
overwhelming odds, we struggle to keep going. In the heat of
battle, we fight the best we can, with no time to worry about
Life isn't that way all the time. There are quiet times and
turbulent times. In times of peace, we collect our thoughts, get
organized, and center ourselves. Then when we go into battle,
we're better prepared to triumph.
There are times when we have some illusive thought, and race to
capture it on paper before it's lost forever. One example is when
we just wake up in the morning, and rush to hold onto the memory
of some dream we just had. Another is when we're feeling inspired
and rush to put our thoughts on paper before the insight slips
In a sense, I see myself as that kind of drowning man: for me,
"meaning," as I see it, takes precedence, and the other
"niceties" will just have to go in line and wait for their turn.
The first and most important step is to capture the ideas, to
put them down in concrete form, to give them expression.
I don't really ignore those poor niceties, conventions, fashions,
considerations at the back of the line-up, but I don't let them
bully their way to the front of the line either. Of course if I
ever learn to swim better, well . . . But, in the meanwhile, I
trash around as meaningfully as I can! What can I say? Sorry
about the trashing!
Writing is fine. The more we write, the better we get at it.
PS What're you trying to say, there, Eldon? That you're not a
drowing man, yourself?
I focus on the things I'd like to learn more. They seem
interesting so I'm inclined to talk about them. The same is true
of you and all the rest of us.
We've all got hot points in our lives, areas of crisis that we
have to deal with. When things seem completely calm outside and
there's no sign of trouble, it's the most dangerous. In those
times, the danger in life is hidden from us rather than being
out in the open.
I wouldn't use the expression "drowning man," but I'd say that I
also have areas of life where I face challenges too. And we all
do. We need to pay attention to the problems and take care of
them. But we must guard against becoming self-preoccupied and
magnifying our problems out of proportion. The best way to avoid
that is to cultivate a concern for the problems of others. When
we see what troubles our family and friends, we realize that we
didn't have things as bad as we had thought.
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