Bliss: the Search for the Infrangilble

  “All you need in the world is love and laughter.” – August Wilson

   “What is sacred…Only love.” – Johnny Depp

    Sacred.  A word that has religious overtones, and in those overtones there is comfort. But the sacred I am talking about today can be aptly described by the word revered, and the meaning I will be using is one cobbled together from many found in the Encarta Dictionary: worthy of regard; not to be challenged or disrespected.

         

English: Robinia pseudoacacia, Fabaceae, Black...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 A book that was given to me by a friend that makes me feel smart (as opposed to really being smart) is called “The Thinker’s Thesaurus” by Peter E. Meltzer and is subtitled “Sophisticated Alternatives to Common Words.” It synonymizes sacred as a being “infrangible” and suggests I go to the word “inviolable”. So I went on a little journey to find “inviolable” and find the word infrangible again. This somewhat circuitous route leads me to believe I am not smart or sophisticated enough for this book, so instead I consult my in-computer thesaurus and it tells me that infrangible means “unable to be disregarded or violated” (hence: inviolable).        

I hope I have not lost you yet, but words and their meanings can be flexible, and in order to talk specifically about something, you need to know the precise meaning that is being used.         

There are certain things that are sacred to me, or to use a lovely word: sacrosanct. These things cannot be questioned, they just “are”.

Some of the most unlikely sources define the word sacred the best.  Johnny Depp, an actor I consider of great depth, but not a recognized philosopher or great thinker, said: “There are four questions of value in life…..What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same. Only love.”

 At one time I liked to think that one could survive without love—that one needed no outside source to depend on, and that you could pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. I was wrong, and the reason I could be so wrong is that I had love. It was not a missing element from my life—my parents loved me, my brothers and sister loved me, and to an extent my friends loved me. Sometimes you do not realize what you have because you have the luxury of taking it for granted. It is when something is missing that you notice it.

After 31 years of marriage (another anniversary celebrated last week), I no longer take love for granted—though it is

Sacred Kingfisher

Sacred Kingfisher (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

offered to me unreservedly and sometimes undeservedly. Rainn Wilson (of The Office fame—another unlikely sage) said something that resonates with me deeply: “The bonds we create in the household are the most important and lasting. Savour them; they’re sacred.”

 Writer and director, Tom Shadyac (Bruce Almighty) has another take on what should be revered. He says: “I think laughter is a sacred act.” And if you really think about it, it is. Laughter is the realization of happiness; it is mirth and enjoyment and amusement.

So what do you find sacred? What is it that you can unquestionably depend on? Love and laughter are certainly two high contenders, and they are my choices. They are both sacred in my life. Love can be affection, or passion; it can be fondness, or devotion; friendship, or lasting marital commitment; enjoyment, or total ardour.

There are degrees of love, and it is in those degrees that we define ourselves. There is love between (or among) siblings; love of your children; love of your spouse or “significant other”; love of your family; love of your friends; love of your animals; and love of life.

 Laughter is the icing on the cake of life—or as Pulitzer Prize winning playwright August Wilson, said: “All you need in the world is love and laughter. That’s all anybody needs. To have love in one hand and laughter in the other.”  I think love and laughter are sacred, to be revered;   neither should be challenged nor disrespected. Or, to use my newly discovered word of the week: infrangible.

Bliss is the infrangible–the sacred. What do you find blissfully sacred?

Or Not

Carl Sanburg's house where he lived while he w...

Carl Sandburg’s house. Now a Chicago landmark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“It is necessary ….for a man to go away by himself …to sit on a rock…and ask, ‘Who am I, where have I been, and where am I going?’”* So said Carl Sandburg. My answer: “Or not.” Admittedly a succinct, even superficial response, nonetheless I sometimes wonder if we should really be so navel gazing. I have noticed in my numerous decades on this earth, that too much introspection can be harmful, and that those who do not put in the time to ask the questions that Sandburg put forth are perhaps happier than those of us who delve into these depths.

According to Wikipedia (that repository of somewhat questionable knowledge for the lazy), Carl Sandburg was born in 1878 and was the recipient of not one, not two, but three Pulitzer prizes. He was a much celebrated writer and editor–so, he can be forgiven for being a deep thinker—it obviously paid off for him. But I am still wondering about his choice of a rock to sit on to contemplate his wherewithal.  Why not a couch before a roaring fire, or a comfortable bench overlooking the park, or even a sandy beach? It seems we need to contemplate life from a hard place, or the proverbial spot between it and a rock.

Of course I am not a great philosopher (or even a poor one), but if I take my cues from my cat, strangely named Kitty Bob (try shouting that out your front door when you want your cat to come home), I note that he takes no comfort from hard places, nor do I think that he contemplates life much beyond eating, sleeping, partying hardy all night away from the house, and getting all the attention in the world from three of the four members of this household (yes, I am the holdout—but in my defence I feed him and clean out his litter box, and on occasion at the urging of those who love him, pet him).

Now, I am not saying we should all act like cats (or maybe I am), but a house cat with a good home and people who love him, has it made in the shade. (What would this post be without its clichés—I am single-handedly bringing them back into vogue).  My cat thinks he owns the place, and in essence he does. Pretty well anything Kitty Bob wants, KB gets. Here is an excerpt from some of the conversations that go on around this house all concerning the cat:

1. “Oh, let the Kitty Bob sit in your chair. You don’t need to work at your desk right now, do you?” (For some reason Kitty Bob has taken to sitting in my desk chair of late, and is quite put out when I have to move him.) He is very indignant when I unceremoniously dump him out of my chair and he must sit somewhere else, and it seems the members of this family think he should be able to sit where he pleases too. (For those of you taken aback at my dumping him out of my chair—really, I just gently lift him out and put him in another chair—I don’t want the Pet Police after me.)

2. “Kitty Bob likes sitting on my suitcase—I’ll get him another one to sit on, so he will be happy.” It seems that Kitty Bob’s happiness is a priority at my house. No rock for this guy. The back story: When my youngest son Tyler was home for Thanksgiving, he left his suitcase laying out flat in the hallway upstairs and Kitty Bob started to use it as his comfortable place to nest, so that when Ty needed to gather it up to go back to school, he went and found another suitcase (mine!) for the cat to lie on. And the cat is still using it as his upstairs “getaway” every day—taking his leisurely naps on it. He does leave it to eat and do his duty, but he spends hours on this suitcase. Who knew?

3. “Pet the Kitty Bob, mom, he wants you to pet him.” I do not think the cat cares if I pet him, but I give him attention to make the other humans at this house happy. And their response always is: “See, he is starting to purr, he doesn’t purr when I hold him.” The secret here is that I feed the cat; the cat knows that I am the purveyor of all things “meow mix” so of course he purrs–he wants to be fed, and he recognizes me as the giver of food.

Anyway, my whole point in this is–why go sit on a rock, question life, ruminate over your failures, and make plans to make your life more worthy if you are a cat? It is just us foolish humans who have not yet found the meaning of life: eating, sleeping, and getting a lot of love, who need to make ourselves uncomfortable in order to ask life’s questions.

*Thanks to grosenberg.wordpress.com for the quote.