Saturday, June 27, 2009

Yin and Yang on Crack

I believe that reality must be a balance. We cannot know good without knowing bad. We cannot experience happiness without also experiencing sadness. We must feel pain to know what pleasure feels like. I am confident that it must be this way, but I can't help but feel that the intensity of the simultaneously oppositional tugs is sometimes a bit stronger than is universally necessary, which merely leaves me feeling stretched too thin, like (in the words of Bilbo Baggins) butter spread over too much bread.

I am about to embark on a month of adventures. I'm traveling by cruise ship to Key West and Cazumel, and then returning to the Midwest mere hours before leaving for New York City for five days of exploration. Both trips involve great friends, fun experiences, and I hope lots of pictures and memories. I have not had a full-blown vacation in several years, so I'm completely pumped. Both of these trips have long been on my 'must do' list, and I'm checking them off in short order.

But the forces of the universe won't have it all to the good, it seems. While I'm planning for these wonderful trips with wonderful friends, I'm feeling the oppositional tug of concern and worry for the well being of one of the truly dearest people in my life, who's battling a serious illness. All my hopes and thoughts are directed toward her recovery, but I'm fully conscious of the difficulties presented to her, all the while I'm flitting about on planes, subways, and cruise ships. The joy of traveling will be blended with the concern for my friend. The excitement of my July co-exists with the hard decisions and anxiousness of hers.

My life has quite often been a series of tolerable oppositional tugs, the tensions never terribly extreme. This time, however, I feel the tautness so acutely it makes my heart race nervously when I think about it. I wake up at night and instantly my mind moves from excitement of the impending trips to anxiety about my friend's well being (or vice versa)...the two poles strike practically simultaneously, and then I continually bounce from one to the next, which leaves me reeling and awake for lengthy periods of time.

As an intellectual and half-assed amateur philosopher, I know what all of this means and acknowledge the inevitability of opposition. I just, for the first time, have absolutely no idea how to cope with it.

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