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Monthly Archives: September 2009

The Way I See It #76

“The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating – in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitaion. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.” ~ Anne Morriss Starbucks Customer

Of all the things that I think are wrong with society today, I think that a lack of commitment tops the list. People commit only as long as it is convenient for them. Perhaps this ties in to yesterday’s post on illiteracy (a.k.a. self-centredness). When a relationship is no longer beneficial or requries too much work, people simply check out. As a result, we have a short-term society.

Our lives are tucked neatly into 30-60 minute segments (dependant on whether your life is a sitcom or prime-time drama). When things get a little uncomfortable, we merely flick a button and change the channel and our lives rush forward in a new direction leaving a whirlwind of broken relationships in our wake.

Husbands no longer feel the need to love their wives and wives no longer honour their husbands. Children do not obey their parents and we all do as we please with no thought at all to those who surround us. We are more apt to commit to a weekly reality tv show than we are to a real, flesh and blood human being. Imagine life if we fought as hard for our relationships as some have played a game to win a million dollars…

Anne Morriss is a genuis. I wish it had been I who’d come up with the quote I started this post with. So many people view commitment as being tied down, unable to be themselves. This is where our view is so incredibly defective. It is when we commit ourselves, not just in part, but in whole, that we are liberated from the old ball and chain, so to speak. If we are committed to a person and that person to us, all fear and hesitancy should dissolve. Too many people are too slow to trust and too quick to think the worst of everything and everyone.

You may think what do I, a single twentysomething, know about commitment? I have never been in a long-term relationship, never been married and have no children. I’d like to call myself a professional observer. In my wait for lifetime commitment in the form of a loving marriage relationship, I have been paying close attention to those relationships around me. I have taken note of things that work and made a point to remember the things that don’t. I have concluded that the most satisfying relationships are those where both parties have thrown caution to the wind. This is not running headlong into a relationship with eyes closed! This is entering a union with eyes wide open and clinging to it with body, mind and soul leaving nothing to question. It is when everything is bared and on the table that relationships are most successful. To say, “Here I am, all of me. I want you and all that comes with you. If you look at all this and you still want me, we can make this work.” I believe that we would find the world to be happier, more safe and secure if more people would apply this to their relationships rather than trying to build on the illusions of what we perceive those around us want from us.

Here I am, this is me, like it or not! Lay it on the line. Commit! Take a risk and be yourself for once! You may find it oddly satisfying.

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The Annoyances of Living in an Illiterate Society

I live in Vancouver. Yes, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – first world country – and yet, I believe the society around me to be illiterate. Illiterate or outrageously selfish, self-serving and completely ignorant. I give them the benefit of the doubt, chosing to believe the issue a lack of education rather than a choice to live a life of complete narrow-mindedness (is mindedness even a word? If not, I’m sure you get what I mean).

Since I have not blogged in quite some time, I have been pondering several topics trying to come up with something profound, though it seems that all I can come up with are complaints about the world around me. Has the world gone awry or have I gone mad?

I was leaving Wal-Mart with my parents the other day. We walked out the exit. Yes, the exit. The doors that have a giant “OUT” sticker slapped on them right at eye level and “DO NOT ENTER” on the outside. One would think that this would deter people from trying to get in the building through those particular doors. “IN” would usually indicate the entrance. But as we were leaving, a kid came barrelling through the exit with a shopping cart, nearly taking out my knees and ankles with the contraption. Old enough to read, I assumed the poor child was developmentally delayed and could not… Then his mother followed him in. Perhaps she, too, was uneducated and could not read. At least the boy had the good sense to sheepishly say, “whoops” in embarassment at his mistake. The mother had no such reaction. Looking back I wish I had some option to offer the unfortunate family. Perhaps a continuing education course that teaches adults to read, or a tutor for the boy…

This illiteracy goes even further than words, believe it or not. Apparently pictures, too, are difficult to decypher. I would attribute the inability to read these signs to blindness if it weren’t for the fact that the signs in question involve parking lots and roadways. If blindess is to blame, we have an even bigger issue on our hands.

I was with my sister and her newborn son and we had planned a day of shopping. We pulled into the mall parking lot and headed to a store which we knew to have “mommy parking” – spots reserved for expectant mothers or parents with small children and marked by signs depicting baby buggies. We found an open mommy spot and took it, though it was not the closest, it was the only one left available. We got out of the car and proceeded to gather our things as well as the baby’s. As I hefted the stroller from the trunk, I noticed not one, but two men exit the department store and make beelines for their vehicles – both of which were parked in mommy parking. Again, wanting to give them the benefit of the doubt, I assumed their wives would soon follow them from the store. This was not to be. Both men started their cars and drove off. If their wives and children were indeed in the store, I feel sorry for them having been left behind by their husbands who were in such hurries. I shook my head at them as they drove away and resisted the temptation to shake my fist and holler profanities. I am, after all, a good Christian girl and it would not reflect kindly upon myself or my family to be caught in such vulgar activities. My sister and I continued our shopping appalled at the audacity of those two men who were so rude to steal parking from those who could have actually benefited from those stalls.

My choice to believe illiteracy over ignorance is a choice to save my own sanity. If all these people who cannot read traffic signs, parking signs, store signs are really as selfish as they appear to be, it appears to me that our society is quickly slipping beyond salvation. There is no longer a single thought for fellow man, for the woman on the sidewalk, for the child in the backseat. It would mean that neighbours no longer help each other. It would mean that boy scouts no longer help old ladies to cross a busy street. It would mean that those old ladies would think the worst of any boy scout who makes an offer to help her cross the street. It would mean that we love ourselves more than our neighbours and that we do not love our neighbours as ourselves.