Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Life Without Nouns

  A very strange thing is happening. A couple of days ago I was in a meeting about our math curriculum and I wanted to reference Maria Montessori.  What I came up with was, “You know, that chick in Italy.”  Then to make matters worse I wanted to quote Pythagoras but the best I could do was, “The dead guy from a long time ago who lived in the place with blue water.”  Somehow Melinda managed to put math, blue water and a long time ago together and come up with his name.  A sugar hit from a couple of Pixi Stix helped, but not much.  I should have just shut up, but I didn’t and it didn’t get better. It’s not just happening at work either.
  I was at a bluegrass jam not long ago and a young guitar player I had met once before came in. I knew everything about him, where he was from, what college he went to, and the fact that he came to Atlanta for college and stayed for love. I knew how many brothers he had and that his parents were social workers. I could not have told you his name if you held a hot poker to my head. I didn’t have a clue. It amused the twenty somethings who were there to no end.  They thought it was a parlor trick because I did it more than once that night. It’s not. A woman I work with calls it Life Without Nouns. 
   They tell me that it happens to you after a certain age and it's all part of the wilderness experience of being human.  It happens to me and it’s going to happen to you. Life is like that. No matter how different we all are we are all, ultimately, human beings having a human experience.  We can embrace the experience of being human and fallible or we can run from it. It’s either love or fear, baby.
  Where there is not love there is fear.  It masquerades as truth and cheapens life.  Fear prevents you from living fully and delighting in the many joys that life has to offer at any age.  It robs you of the treasure that being human offers, to be loved and to love in kind.
    Last spring a group of 5th graders and I were talking about the difference between their generation and mine and their age and mine. When I mentioned that I have lived more than I will live.  Kenyon raised his hand then blurted, “I think you still have a lot of living left to do.”  I think so too. It would be nice to do it with nouns but I’ll take love. 

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