“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” ~ Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.
But what matters? And what exactly do you say about it? And how exactly should you say it?
I wish I could tell you. That’s something you have to decide for yourself.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what most matters to me. About good and evil. About light and darkness. About integrity and the type of life I want to live and the type of people I want to live it with. What is it I believe in?
Do you ever ask yourself that? What you believe in?
How often do you ask yourself?
We all change. Our beliefs do too. It’s always good to stop and ask yourself from time to time what exactly it is that matters to you. What do you stand for? What are your motivations? What do you believe in?
So, that’s what I’m in the process of doing.
Sometimes, if you don’t know what to say, it’s okay to not say anything. It’s okay to do some soul-searching, some watching, some listening. I encourage that. My mother taught me when I was young, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Or maybe it was a movie, I’m not really sure. I know I used to believe that. But not anymore.
Some things should be said. Even if they’re not nice.
Some things shouldn’t.
And some things don’t need to be said, at least not right away.
As I contemplate what I believe, I know this: I believe in light; I believe in words; I believe in stories. I believe, as Martin Luther King Jr. did, that “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”
“Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light.” ~ Kate DiCamillo
So for now I leave you with some light, a story. A light-hearted one I wrote a few months ago as I began to stretch my writing boundaries. It’s a discussion I had with that little voice in my head, and sometimes I cuss when I talk to myself — please don’t be offended.
And please, have a discussion with that little voice in your head. Re-examine what you believe and what matters to you. If you don’t know where to begin … begin anywhere.
My gratitude to Michelle at The Green Study for reminding me in her post “Equivocating, Voyeurism and Cathartic Blogging” that sometimes it’s okay to just listen; sometimes we have to slow down and examine our current motivations and beliefs, and sometimes boundaries are warranted and needed. Thank you Michelle. And to my friend El Guapo, for his post “Angry Doesn’t Describe It,” I say thank you for saying something, and for saying it fiercely and with conviction. Both Michelle and Guap show us there are some things that should be said, some things that shouldn’t, and some things that don’t need to be said right away — it all depends on your personal beliefs and what most matters to you.
Say Anything, Begin Anywhere
“All my instincts, they return
and the grand facade, so soon will burn
without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside”
~ “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, image from movie Say Anything
I don’t know what to say.
Can’t you say anything?
Fine, Mr. Cusack, yes, I can; but what should I write about?
Well, what do you want to write about?
Oh, I don’t know. Stuff.
What sort of stuff?
Ah, but that’s the question, isn’t it?
Are you even paying attention to me?
Why? Did you think I wasn’t paying attention?
Do you always answer every question with a question?
Do I what?
Weren’t you paying attention?
For cryin’ out loud, yes, of course I was paying attention. Seems to me I was asking if you answered every single question with another question.
I don’t know, do I?
Duh. Yes, yes you do!
WHY GOD, WHY ME?!
Because none of this is really about me—it’s all about you. But surely you knew that already?
Yeah, I guess I did. Wait… you did it again.
I see what you’re doing.
Oh you do, do you?
I’m on to you.
FOR FUCK’S SAKE.
Why are you getting upset?
OH MY GOD.
Great, my god has a fucking sense of humor.
What’s wrong with having a sense of humor?
It’s not that. Gawd, god…
Then what is it?
Where do I even begin?
Why don’t you begin anywhere?
Why not? Because what if I begin in the wrong place?
Isn’t one place as good as another?
Not if it’s the wrong place, it’s not.
Couldn’t you always begin again?
Like my favorite song says, in the long run, isn’t there still to time to change the road you’re on?
Hmmm… It makes me wonder. I hope there is.
You can’t know that.
Actually, I can.
Oh yeah, I forgot.
Besides, where do beginnings come from?
Is this a joke, god? I don’t know. Where do beginnings come from? You tell me. Please.
Have you ever heard that song, Closing Time?
Sure, yeah, hasn’t everyone? They played the hell out of that song. Err, sorry. I didn’t take you for a Semisonic fan though, god.
Do you remember what the song said about new beginnings?
Umm… ‘every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end’?
Aren’t those profound lyrics?
You keep answering in questions.
Ah, nice Peter Gabriel reference there, god. Impressive. So … nothing. I’m actually getting used to your rhetoric.
Don’t push your luck, god, I’m still agnostic; I can swing either way.
You’re getting sassy with me?
Not really. Why? Are you going to smote me?
Just testing you. Seeing if you were still paying attention?
Did you really think I didn’t hear you?
Ah, but were you listening? That’s the real question.
The question to what?
Wait, what were we talking about anyway?
You forgot what we were talking about, god?
Maybe. Or maybe I’m just testing you again. Why don’t we begin again?
Okay … Sure… Why not?
Where shall we begin?
How about the beginning?
And where is that?
It’s right here, god, it’s right here. Every moment is a new beginning. Every moment is some other beginning’s end.
Ah. So you were listening.
Was that a question?
Thank god. But it’s kind of sad if you think about it. How every beginning is an ending.
But every ending is a beginning. And that’s kind of cool, isn’t it?
You’re right, god.
So this is the end?
Or is it the beginning?
If there’s no end, there can be no beginning.
Secretly grateful you’re sharing this moment with me.
~ “No End, No Beginning” by Poets of the Fall from Alchemy, Vol. 1