When You Think You Have All The Answers You’re Probably Asking The Wrong Questions

This week the columnist serves up a large order of wisdom with a side of humor. No tipping please!


“…..Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.” ~ Black Elk Oglala Sioux Holy Man (1863-1950) 

This past week was rather thought-provoking. I won’t go into detail but suffice to say I feel I took a giant step forward on the long, bumpy road that is my writing career. 

I’d struggled with some personal issues over the past few weeks that had me questioning myself, my motives – just about everything. But a few setbacks and a couple of minor detours later, the road has smoothed out nicely and I’m moving forward again. 

Just to show you how bad things had become, I checked in on on Thursday and a guy who was had beaten me out for the most read article that day. 

Of course, I’m kidding. That wasn’t the worst thing that happened, but it was a bit sobering. I do enjoy seeing my column on top of the ‘most read’ list.   

Life can be downright ludicrous at times. If we’re honest about it, I’d guess that most of us are not where we thought we’d be at this moment in time, nor are we doing what we thought we’d be doing. 

I realize I’m overstating this and speaking in very broad terms, but I’m willing to bet this applies to most of us. For many, the path we’ve ultimately traveled may not have been our first choice, or even our second or third. The fact is that our path may not have been our choice at all, but was merely the place where we landed.

As David Byrne from Talking Heads so aptly put it, “We may find ourselves in another part of the world. We may find ourselves behind the wheel of a large automobile. We may find ourselves in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife. And we may ask ourselves, ‘Well, how did I get here?’ " 

I should probably spend less time on YouTube. It may be having a deleterious effect on my thinking process. Oh, and that word – deleterious – that’s my Word Of The Day. Hey, it works for Bill O’Reilly why shouldn’t it work for me?  Come on, go look it up. Google it. Don’t be a sluggard! 

Seriously though, , don’t you agree? A lot of things we believed to be absolute truth when we were in our teens and twenties are replaced by new truths in our thirties, which in turn are replaced by another set of truths in our forties, and so on and so forth throughout our lives. We are forever immersed in the process of philosophical evolution; the refining of thought. It’s a life-long learning process. 

Before the extremists from either side of this debate jump down my throat because they believe that they alone are the caretakers of all that’s true and good, let me say that, yes; there are those who lock on to one set of philosophical beliefs and hold it as their own throughout their lives. They believe that they possess and are the custodians of the absolute truth. 

I say, “Good for them!” I’m happy for them. I’m in the Libertarian camp on this one. I believe everyone has the right to make choices as to how to live their own lives providing they respect the rights of others to do likewise. There’s considerably more to it than that, but that’s the paraphrase. 

The problem is that many who believe they have the truth do not share my view and do not respect the rights of others to make their own choices. This is a very dangerous path to pursue. One’s personal beliefs are not to be ridiculed. We are free to disagree, but as long as the beliefs of others are not doing harm to someone else; we need to butt out and let things fall where they may.

Fair debate is always fitting, but ridicule is never acceptable. Disrespect for our fellow man is inappropriate and indefensible and the fact that someone is not in the same place that we are mentally, emotionally or spiritually does not give us license to bully them into compliance with our own beliefs and principles even though we may feel we have their best interests at heart. 

I have a saying I’m very fond of that I believe fits perfectly into this discussion - God will let you go where you need to go in order to get you where you need to be. I’m fairly certain this particular phrase is of my own creation, but I know it’s comprised of bits and pieces of things I've heard from others over the years. Most things are.

After all, we are the sum total of our experiences to this point in our lives and it’s likely that none of us has ever had a strictly original thought aside from what we’ve gleaned from the thoughts of others throughout our lives. 

We are all participants in the circle of life. Most of us get married. We have children and our homes are filled with baby food and diapers. Life marches on, as it is wont to do, and in due time our children leave home, get married and have children of their own; and now their homes are filled with baby food and diapers. 

Our children bring their children [our grandchildren] to visit us and our homes are again filled with baby food and diapers. 

We progress further down the continuum of time and before we know it our grandchildren get married and have had children of their own [our great-grandchildren]. Strangely enough; our homes are still filled with baby food and diapers, but things are curiously different now. 

The baby food and diapers we keep in our homes are no longer for our children, or our grand-children, or our great grand-children………. 

They’re for us! 

Ah, that pesky circle of life! 

Make it a great week! 

Bob Havey is an Easton-based freelance writer and a consummate trouble-maker. His column, "The View From Here", appears each Tuesday at http://easton-ma.patch.com  and on Wednesday at http://mansfield-ma.patch.com.  His column, “The Way I See It”, runs every other Wednesday at http://norton.patch.com.

Carl White December 17, 2011 at 01:18 AM
I agree with you about respecting other people's opinions. A couple asked me about my political leanings, and when I told them, they started to engage me in a heated discussion. Then when I tried calmly to express myself, they told me I'd been brainwashed! People ridicule other people over this, which is not productive. When I was young, I thought I knew it all. As I got older, I realized I didn't know as much as I thought I did! A friend of mine who own a coffee shop used to have a sign in his shop that read "Hire a teenager while they still know it all.!"
Bob Havey December 19, 2011 at 02:26 PM
True, Carl. The problem with gaining wisdom as you age is that by the time you know it all, you can't remember what it was that you learned. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Pat Maguire Parrie December 20, 2011 at 01:36 AM
Aha, my friend Mr. Havey, we DO remember much of it--that wisdom learned; it's simply that most of those younger than us neither want to benefit from our wisdom, nor do they much believe in the hard-learned truths of it all! I suspect we were the same as "youngsters!"
Bob Havey December 20, 2011 at 04:50 AM
There you go, Pat - ruining all my fun. :-) You're absolutely correct, of course, but your answer ruins my little joke - emphasis on the 'little'. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.
ELAINE NORDBERG ROCK June 25, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Stand up for some values so you don't fall for just anything, but be open to change and options you may have missed along the way! Life has a way of changing things & we must adapt to some things while holding fast to some values & beliefs that benefit all. Extremism never seems to be the correct route to take or hold. But you convey it so much better!!


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