“Life is a beautiful, magnificent thing, even to a jellyfish.”
“Look up to the sky. You'll never find a rainbow if you're looking down.”
If life is truly a beautiful magnificent thing, even to a jellyfish (and I suspect it is, since all beings, whether jellyfish or zebra or human being, fight for survival and aim to avoid suffering) then I see no reason why we human writers should not also find life to be a beautiful magnificent thing, even while experiencing great suffering.
Who better to illustrate these quotations than the man who said them – Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin, better known as Charlie Chaplin. His childhood was defined by poverty and hardship, but he became one of the film world’s most beloved characters during a career that spanned seventy-five years. His films showcase that tug between slapstick comedy and pathos, one of life’s greatest dualities and why Chaplin became so popular and is loved to this day.
Witness some victims of the Boston Marathon bombing who made inspirational statements from their hospital rooms. Many had lost limbs, but they had already moved past anger and sadness and seemed ready to take the world by the tail again, grateful to be alive.
I doubt I'd do as well in similar circumstances.
Other graceful and larger than life people in the current spotlight are the parents of Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. They continue their positive work with their son’s legacy through their foundation, seeking to protect other families’ children from suffering the same fate as Trayvon because of SYG laws and the racial and criminal profiling that often accompanies this mindset. They face their obstacles and their detractors with far more class than I would, especially after such a disappointing joke of a verdict at the killer’s trial (he whose name shall be forgotten, in my mind). I would have difficulty maintaining composure under the great pressure and glare of the twenty-four hour news cycle that these folks have faced.
My problems are trivial by comparison. Heck, I can’t even get through minor daily issues without sniveling and cussing. But then, I fight a bit more depression and anxiety than the average person, something that goes along with the gift of creativity, as the scientific pundits say.
But I do cherish the “beauty in the breaking” - that underlying sense of equanimity that lives within our hearts even when everything is all wrong - and also the fleeting moments of bliss that we all encounter, whether in something so minute as observing a raindrop poised on a flower petal, (the microcosm) or walking in rainfall through a lovely forest (the macrocosm). And of course, there are always the joys of human events – births, graduations, weddings, (or sometimes just waking up in a decent mood) and for us writers, manuscript acceptance letters and story or book publication days!
Even setting a few words to paper (or screen, in this case) for a blog post makes my heart go pitty-pat!
So, as someone who moans loudly and often about life’s inequities, it almost seems hypocritical to tell you to look up at the sky. But I will do it anyway to remind myself.
It’s really all we have in this moment – this life, this sky.
Glastonbury Tor, 2010
© Kate Robinson