The ability to talk, to express oneself by the use of the spoken word, is tied firmly to being human. As mankind evolved, so did the complexity of language itself. Very recently, the multitude of devices available to transfer the spoken word has mushroomed. Never before in history has it been so easy to talk to anyone, anywhere. I am conscious of a need to communicate clearly and in a meaningful way with anyone I engage in discussion.
Our world is faced with urgent problems. To improve my art of communication may, in a very small way, help our world to survive. Whether it is person-to-person, or one ideology with a very different ideology, I must learn to work with others for the good of all. From birth to death, my learning process goes on. As I mature, life confronts me with realities that must be faced and a need for qualities which are hard won. I must develop the capacity to listen sincerely, and with the intention of understanding the other side. To learn to acknowledge my own weaknesses, and to accept that I can sometimes be wrong in my reasoning can be both frightening and rewarding. I can fail, and that hurts – but when I attempt an important communication and it works – Oh, when it works, it’s Magic!
This is a tricky business. No one method fits all here. I must risk being vulnerable, self aware, and willing to fail. So why bother?
“This would take a saint and I’m not in that league,” I say to myself. “Is this really going to add to my enjoyment of life? I’m a pretty decent sort. I’ll just say what I think and let the chips fall where they may. The people I’m trying to convince can just like it or lump it!”
I am chagrined to admit that this position, in what I hope are my “off days”, comes pretty close to the way I can react – my default position. Despite my Biblical “four score years and ten”, despite my enjoyment of people, when I am trying to make a case for something that seems to me to be very important and I get nowhere, I often fail to remember the lessons I have painfully learned. The result? Once again I am a thoughtless communicator. Discouraging. But if one says…
“Well, I muffed that one. If my opponent is talking to me tomorrow, I’ll try again and remember to listen more closely, argue less, and give it another try. After all, I never know when the magic will strike again.”
I turn now to highlight an issue well known and much discussed. The world climate is changing, and to a degree which threatens everyone. The debate rages.
Is it a natural change? Maybe.
Is it caused wholly by mankind’s pollution of air, water and land? Maybe.
Are both nature and humans responsible for this? Probably.
Can anything be done to halt this? Yes!!
Moving on – who has the responsibility of tackling this universal problem? Is it national governments, industry, international organizations, society at large or individuals everywhere? Yes, to all – and as soon as possible, thank you!
I speak only as a concerned individual and an old one at that. Our world is in the midst of massive and rapid changes. On this exhilarating and dangerous roller coaster, I see three reactions in my fellow passengers.
What problem? I don’t see one.
Enjoy today, because tomorrow may not come.
Enjoy today, and do whatever I can to help the sun rise on a better tomorrow.
I stand, not alone, but with many. There is an arsenal with many weapons:
Knowledge of the world as never before
Communication skills more understood than in the past
A barely apparent but slowly emerging change in the attitude of ordinary people, from passive acceptance of the inevitable, to active belief in the power of the individual to bring about change. I throw my hat in this ring, with those who enjoy today and hope and work for tomorrow. I will direct my small efforts toward helping tomorrow’s world be a step closer to the world it must become.
Time it will take, but it can be done. My lament is that the decades this may take will rule out my attendance at the victory party. From somewhere along the path I tread may I be able to look back, see what is happening, laugh and say “When it works, it’s Magic!”
10 Responses to When It Works, It’s Magic
For this musing, Marjorie, thank you. Especially, for helping me see that too often I fall into the “can’t do anything and won’t be around long enough to care anyway” camp.
On a more personal note, this kind of writing tells me that you’re starting to work your way out of the abyss of Sheldon’s death. When someone we love dies, when that someone has been half your life for so many years, the first and most intuitive reaction is to revisit the memories that made you what you are — in part, at least, to find out who you are again. I hope you will continue to write your memories — but I also hope that you are now feeling more capable of getting involved in the present as well.
Jim – Thank you for your comments. This was one of those pieces that I somehow had to write, and wondered if anyone else would be interested. You encourage me. Regarding Sheldon and my journey – things are progressing quite well, and I thank you again for caring. My day-by-day life is full and interesting, and somehow goes along quite comfortably with the deep sadness which is always there. Cannot explain quite what I mean so will leave it at that. There is a change too, in that I am wondering more about what I will write next – life is so interesting! MMG
Mrs. G…I’d love you to meet my father, Peter, and step-mum Anne. As you may know, they live in Creston and are active in the community. Dad is a member of Rotary (I think he joined at age 84 or so), and a leader on the Creston Foundation which is engaged in community building in every sense of the world. He’s 91, and Anne is 80. You all are inspirational!
Ian – A familiar voice from the past! I am pleased to know you read my blog, and especially pleased to get your response. The word about your father, Peter, and step-mum, Anne, was great. They obviously are fully involved in their community which is good for them and great for the community! Vancouver is now my home, and a good place to visit, Ian! MMG
Nicely done. Revisions take patience, confidence and courage.
Rod – Thanks for your comments. I certainly always respect your viewpoint, and your leadership in our writing group. The discussion that ensues and the suggestions offered help me see my work from the outside – a very useful gift indeed.
Marjorie – Your comment on how interesting life is reminded me of an interview on CBC the other day with “The Wealthy Barber” (David Chilton) They asked him what trait he most admired in others – and he said “Perspective – on how lucky we are ” , then added “curiosity”, and then “a sense of humour” He went on to say the people in life he admired most seemed to have all three of the characteristics. I would say that YOU qualify as someone I know with “all three” ! you inspire me!
Alison – Thank you for your comments (and compliments). I told Isabel that this essay was not likely to place as a “funny ha ha”candidate, yet I do believe that life continues to be interesting as the years pile up, and there is always something a bit weird and funny to be found! The future to me seems to hold danger, hope, and mystery. May I live long enough to get even a hint of what may develop!
Marjorie, my first thought after reading your latest blog was, “I want Marjorie around when I am her age to remind me of all these powerful lessons!” I will need your wisdom! I must pay attention now, and am grateful for the opportunity. As for the planet, well our daughter is ‘on it’ ~ I say that in the most humble of terms. Andrea is doing her part to open people’s eyes as to how we treat our planet and I am being reminded of how my mind worked at her age. Small town Alberta has many wonderful qualities, change is not always one of them! So when I get on the ‘we should change some ways of doing things, it is hurting our planet’ bandwagon I am not overly popular with the crowd, but that is okay because I am popular with my daughter! Love to you from your prairies, Marjorie.
Yvonne – Thank you – my prairie correspondent! I do seriously believe that real change may shift from governments to the grass roots — and we roots outnumber leaders and governments — Andrea may have a chance to see this starting. Glad you are active in your support.