Archive for April, 2010

Holding On To Cinemascope Dreams

Monday, April 26th, 2010

I remember years ago listening to one of radio’s first on-air psychologists, a lady named Doctor Toni Grant.

Toni was perfect for the gig. Possessing of smooth, dulcet tones and a reassuring, level-headed manner, she espoused traditional family values long before political fear-mongers expropriated them as weapons of mass manipulation. She never screamed, shrieked or deliberately belittled anyone. She was the gold standard by which today’s media shrinks should be measuring themselves, though regrettably few do.

It was on Dr. Grant’s shows that I first heard the two sagely phrases, “life is not a dress rehearsal” and “life isn’t always fair”.

In retrospect, they both appear hackneyed absolutes of today’s self-help culture in which everyone’s got an answer for everyone else’s problems.

But they’re still big pills to swallow – especially side by side.

On one hand we’re warned that we’d better live in the here-and-now, because today is yesterday’s tomorrow. If there’s places to go and people to see, the time to act is now. If our hearts are of cinemascope dreams, we’d best set about making them come true, because who knows what tomorrow may bring?

And it’s good advice which goes hand in hand with Rabbi Hillel’s famous words, “…and if not now, when?” We procrastinate at our own peril, because rehearsal time’s long since expired.

But then there’s the other guy.

That sneaky little scamp who warns us that we dare not let our expectations get out of hand; that “real world” warning which suggests we ought not dream too wide; that harbinger of defeat which screams that some people are destined to succeed – while it’s just not in the cards for others; that nexus of negativity which whispers that, despite our most herculean efforts, we’re destined to live lives of quiet frustration because, after all… life isn’t always fair.

So how do we reconcile all that when we’re at moments in our lives when we’re overrun with disappointment and disillusionment?

Don’t look to me for an answer because right now I haven’t got one. Huge issues in my life aren’t yet going the way I’d hoped, despite my certainty that I’ve tried my best and worked my hardest. On top of that, a spiritual philosophy to which I subscribe warns me not to have excessive expectations, and suggests I act as if I’m in acceptance, whether I really am or not.

But I’m not there yet. I’m not willing to accept that this is the way it’s gonna be, and that I shouldn’t expect the panorama of my life to expand beyond my wildest dreams if I continue to work for it.

I’m not gonna give up. I’m just not.

But between you and me, what I am gonna do is continue to pray. I am going to continue to turn my dreams over to my God, even if He’s not acting as the waiter I’d selfishly like Him to be and serving up orders on my timetable.

I’ve been at this life too long to believe He’s not listening. I’ve got no other choice than to continue working hard and trying to be the best man I can for the people in my life who love me. Damn the “life isn’t always fair” adage right now. More importantly, I’m not rehearsing for my life – I’m living it.

And I’m choosing to believe that God hasn’t carried me this far to drop me now.

Thanks Doctor Grant. You were a big help.