To Be or Not To Be

A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find
Of governing it well.
-- Louisa May Alcott.
...........hmmm....that more or less describes my situation !!

~A Wise Man Said~

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
-- Aristotle

Monday, May 13, 2002
A friend and I were once engaged in a most interesting discussion. I don't know how we came to arrive at the question, but once there, we were loath to leave it. The question was, "Given a choice, to spend an evening with a 7 yr old child or a 70 yr old adult, whom would I choose?"

Knowing me a little, perhaps he wasn't too surprised by my answer, though I suppose (am not sure), it wouldn't be the expected answer. I would have definitely preferred the old person's company.

This is not to say that I'm not fond of children; I am. But I can't explain what it is that draws me towards the old.

The friend wished to know the reason for my choice (as well he may) and though I was very much sure of my choice, I wasn't sure why.

It has always been so with me that I feel quite at a loss with children; as much as I enjoy watching their antics and frolics, I'm simply a spectator with no emotions involved. They represent a world that is lost to me and I can't imagine myself as ever having been a part of it. I sometimes try to look for a bond, that might connect me to them, and finding none, I wonder if I can reach out and secure one, but the only means at my disposal seem frightfully ill suited for such a task.

I've heard it said that the best way to be with a child, is to be a child oneself, maybe the child in me is dead. I wouldn't have much to offer a child, and the child wouldn't know what to offer me.

The old, don't know what it is about them that manages to stir something deep within me. In their company, I feel as I would feel, were I sitting under a huge banyan tree. Old and withered, yet so full of warmth and shade.

So many winds must have challenged it, so many rains must have refreshed it, so many shoots must have grown in its shadow, so many children must have played with its branches, so many stories must have been told in its vicinity, so many secrets it must hold in its bosom.

An overwhelming sense of sadness overpowers me, when I think of the changes that time has wrought on such a noble handiwork of nature, and the inevitability of future change -- the more I think of it, the more attached I feel to what is left of it now, but tomorrow may not be.

The old folks, not likely they know what they offer me, with their benevolent smiles and kindly words. A pat on the head is enough to bring back the child that lies within me dead. A child that responds to love like any other child.

And when I think of what I can offer them...I can come up with nothing...except the hope that the few happy moments I spend with them may give them happiness too...the few precious moments that are left to them...may they be joyful too...