Wednesday, January 14, 2009


When I find an author that I like, I tend to read all the books that author has ever written. I read Joan Silber's 'The Size of the World', and liked it very much. I then grabbed her first book which was 'Household Words'. It was a good book and well written, but by the end of it, I was ready for it to be over. It was about a Jewish housewife in the 50s, widowed early. She survives, and even thrives, but what emerges is a strong willed woman who will win, no matter what. She nags and pushes her daughters to the point of estrangement, her friends are sometimes people that she doesn't like, but she sees a purpose to the friendship, and maintains it. The men she meets are 'beneath' her, in her estimation. At the end, when she's dying of cancer, she's evaluating her life, the worth of it. It is not so maudlin. She's still strong willed, afraid, but will not admit it, and despite her flaws, convinced of her own worth.
It struck close to home. I am not dying, but I have been thinking about life. Some people think that life is a choice. I don't know. It never seemed that I had all that many options at my fingertips. My life has always seemed like a response. Adversity crops up, leaving me no choice but to face it down, and get past it. Difficult situations, difficult people, difficult times. I just kept my eyes ahead and moved ahead, plodding along in my little rut. That sounds grim, doesn't it? It wasn't. Plenty of joy in it. Plenty of nice memories. Good people. Great kids. Seemed to run by a lot quicker than I expected, but it was a decent life.
The point of this rambling is nothing really. I've just been thinking about my life. and where I've been, and what I should have done different. What I could have done different. Have I led a worthy life? Wearily, I'd have to say, 'Plllt. Who knows?' I've made mistakes, but we all have made mistakes. I can honestly say that my goal has always been to be kind, and I think that I am. I try hard to comfort. I try hard to be wise. In the end, when it's all said and done, I'm not at all sure that I'll be able to say that I have lived a worthy life. But then I realize, in the end, I won't be the One making the decision. I also realize that I need to read a funny book this time around.


Nanny Goats In Panties said...

We all could "What If" ourselves to death (no pun intended) about our lives. We are probably not as important as we think we are, but we are also probably more important than we think we have been, if that makes any sense.

May your next book be hilarious!

- Margaret

Mike said...

Debby, life seems like a choice to me, not a response. If you view choices in a certain way, life begins to look very much like a computer program. Your input into the "system" (the world around you) determines the response you get back out of that system.

As suggested by the programming analogy, this is a quite literal model.

Basic proof is most quickly seen through simplistic examples; if you smile at everybody (input) they smile back and are more kindly disposed toward you (response). If you ask people questions about themselves (input) instead of talking about yourself, they like talking to you (response). If you study (input) you get good grade from your teachers (response). If you work (input), you get paid, etc.

If you frown, people respond negatively. When you put negative orders (programming code) into the system, it returns negative results. It gives you what you ordered.

We can change our lives by consciously operating in "cause mode." We don't control people's responses to us but we do control the quality of the code we submit to the system. Intentionally positive programming brings consistently positive results, because the world works systematically, like an incredibly complicated computer.

Thanks for stimulating post!

Bob Barbanes said...

Debby, I'm inclined to agree with you. As I see it, the only choice we have it be happy or not. Everything else in this crazy world is pretty much out of our control.

Through all of life's ups and downs, joys and sadnesses, triumphs and adversities, I choose to be happy.

Bob said...

I'm with Bob B. I (want to) choose joy.