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February 21, 2009

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Paula

Cheers for again taking up your pen (or keyboard)!! I too am living in that "tragic gap", which is depressing to me as well. I tend to only see what I haven't done, not what I have. I suppose it is comforting to know that we are all living in that space! After starting my own blog, being inspired by you and my daughters, I too have fallen short of my goals for writing and have been discouraged. Thanks once again for your insight and courage to keep learning.

Grandpated

Paula, thanks for the quick response. It is encouraging to know that the blog post is read.

Min

It is good to know that you are blogging again. I have been reading your blog since your first entry and I enjoy reading it. Please allow me to introduce myself. I am a Malaysian Chinese in my late 30s, living in Kuala Lumpur and I find you to be very courageous in acknowledging your imminent death and in embracing this fact. In my culture, no one likes to talk about death, especially the older generation. Please continue to blog and may you be blogging for many years to come.

Grandpated

To Min in Kuala Lumpur: thanks for the encouragement.

Doug Shaver

It is good to have you and the words that you choose back again Ted. I understand what you mean by the "tragic gap". I think we are all there in one way or another. I wonder of this gap is a cultural thing or if it exists across all the globe. I wonder when childhood ends and the gap begins.....then when we become aware of the gap.

Roland Hodson

Dearest Ted,

I was moved by your journal entry about the tragic gap between what you feel you might have been able to do and what you have actually achieved. I think this realisation will have touched a cord for many of us. I too, running about 20 years behind you, have been having the same realisation. I comfort myself with the thought that at some level we have all done the best we could given what we knew and felt at the time. This has been a lament down the ages. There is that saying that youth is wasted on the young. I too feel, almost everyday, I wish I had known then what I know now. Always our learning lags behind the challenges and opportunities that life affords us. All we can do is try to focus on the achievements, limited though they are, and try to use what other limited opportunities are afforded us. Unlike you I am not yet, I hope, in the stage of preparing for death itself but I am certainly preparing for the end of my professional career. I will be 60 in few months and in my career that is just about the end. Looking back what I see most vividly are the botched opportunities, the relationships that were squandered. But there were achievements too. Now my challenge is to find out who I am beyond my professional life. My feeling about you is that you always prioritied that internal journey, rather than the external professional achievements. You were a kind of priest and shaman.

I hope we will see more posts in your journal for some years to come and in the meantime want you to know that you are remembered and loved on this your Birthday.

Roland

Donald Baskett

Ted, your blogging is just my cup of tea (or hemlock). You are the first person I remember meeting...perhaps as a greeter...when I first went to All Souls in 1998. Walt Wells says I am the only person he has known who discovered All Souls KC by googling and then going. Over the years you have been to me the one person I am most likely with which to find compatibility in almost all of your thinking and speaking. The big brother I never had?

On opportunities missed or just fouled up and the question of rectification or catch up:

At a Thursday lunch, several years ago, I made the comment that comparing ourselves to other people--higher achievers than we--I stated, and I paraphrase, that it is indeed a slippery slope for the human psyche if we compare our own status and past accomplishments or lack thereof, missions neglected or left uncompleted, with anyone other than Man Unadorned. Perhaps that idea comes from Shakespeare, King Lear I'm thinking. I don't know if I'm even in the same ballpark with you on this. But...we are fellow seekers and eternal seekers on this side of mortality. In this you and I are certainly not unique. In college I became some sort of an existentialist...life is absurd because it ends in death, oblivion. Any meaning is solely ours to make or discover as we journey on, perhaps not looking back as much as most of us do.

Does this make any sense at all?
Don

Donald Baskett

Maybe this is the question I'm dancing around: How much time should we spend making redresses or completing unfinished projects and the like, as opposed to simply living the fullest we can in the present.

I think both are necessary and salutary.
Don

Donald Baskett

Short and simple, hopefully apropos.

The flip side of comparing ourselves with greater achievers, I consider equally risky or detrimental to the psyche, would be coparing ourselves to those who have fallen below whatever "our" status might be. Therein lies something akin to hubris. We affirm the worth and dignity of each individual. Easy to say, isn't it?

At your age and my age and all other ages, are we not seeking to make peace with mortality? At best that is a lonely quest, but we can help one another by such an exchange of thinking as you have stimulated in your/this blog. Kudos to you.

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