Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Reflection is powerful stuff. It certainly can be self-indulgent but I think far more often than not it can be very constructive. For reasons that I cannot easily explain I have been rediscovering my deep loneliness tonight. I am deeply blessed with many great friends and yet sometimes I feel alone and fragile. I have a very soft centre.This is, in reality of no great significance, life has taught me much and there is so much joy in the world Yet.life does remain a winding road.

The hardest things in my life have genuinely been the most valuable and I would not want to go back and change anything (if such a thing were possible) because to do so would mean giving up part of me. However the scars remain and sometimes they bother me.

When they bother me I write bad poetry. Sometime I might share on this blog a couple of works that I think are actually quite good. (For the record they are called My Father and If Only I could Change the World) but for now, I want to post the few lines I constructed tonight to try and describe my current thoughts and feelings. They will probably be impenetrable to all but me. For that I apologise.

Wonder Why

In the centre of a cloud,
I see glimpses of the clear sky.
In searching for the truth,
I just continue to wonder why;

Why am I alone in the centre of a crowd?
Why am I insecure and yet somehow proud?

A contradiction, I remain,
Each low must accompany a high,
Sometimes in joy, sometimes in pain,
I just wonder, just wonder why;

Why, so fragile is my identity?
Why am I wise to all but me?

My tired frustration burns,
I know the truth in my mind's eye,
Yet I feel not its power,
I just continue to wonder why.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Cynicism and some other -isms...

I've been wondering recently if there's far too much cynicism floating around. It seems to me that there is a lot but that it is both very subtle and very persuasive. Everyone has an angle, everyone is only in it for themselves, all politicians are corrupt etc.

The problem, I think, with cynicism is that ultimately it values nothing. I went to a Christening the other week and it was a very nice occasion. It made me consider the true value of family and how great love and friendship actually are. It seems rather passe to say any of these things, of course.

So what is the answer? Well, I don't think that naive optimism is particularly useful either. So what I would recommend is a kind of optimistic pragmatism (or perhaps pragmatic optimism).

Pragmatic optimism is about a realistic approach to the world but one that finds true value in things. It is about dealing with the tension between how things are and how they should be. ('Should' is a very dangerous word, but that's for another time.) I think a kind of realistic perfectionism has it's place here too. If we set our sites low, we tend to achieve our aims. If on the other hand, you aim for perfection, you probably won't get there, but the place you get to will be well worth it. Can you imagine willingly consultantig a doctor who was content with not trying to provide the best possible care?

Pragmatic optimism: Aim for the best, never be satisfied with setting your sights lower but be prepared to willingly accept your own and other people's failings.

Just a thought.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Tears do not flow from the pitiful and the weak – they also spring from the love and tenderness of the strong. We should never be ashamed of our tears, whether crying in private or grieving in public.
The heart would have known no rainbow if the eyes had never known tears.