Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Catcher in the Rye, dolphins and concentration "issues"

The first time I ever blogged (2005)was from the chair I'm sitting in right his very second. Right here in the Blue Cottage at Manzanita. It makes perfect sense to me because the ocean causes me to reflect.

It was triple digits in Los Angeles today and low 90's on the beach. Perhaps this is the warmest beach day I've ever felt here in Laguna. Despite the warm temperatures the beach was extraordinarily quiet. And lovely. Those dolphins appeared to agree.

My spouse put on the wetsuit and went out in the rough surf while I sat back and revisited the life of Holden Caufield.

Eventually, just like always, I look up from my book and out to the ocean . . . and my mind starts to wander. The ocean sweeps my thoughts away and soon I find myself in a place I never thought I would be. Simply by glancing up.

I remembered reading a scripture last week with a warning about rationalizing sin. It was complete with examples of that rationalizing - I sat up and really took notice. Soon I was thinking about pop culture and the vocabulary of a language and how it's acceptable to say, "I have issues", or "they have issues" or "she has an issue with her." And that's when I thought . . . is that an excuse? It is rationalizing? Maybe it's simpler to claim "issues" (and easier) than admitting a hard heart? I couldn't stop there. I kept thinking about President Benson's talk, Beware of Pride. Does the lexicon of the expression "issues" make us feel better about that enmity President Benson talks about? Is it that rationalizing we know so well, more of that "it isn't my fault" explanation? And if it is, isn't it that enmity toward God President Benson talks about - is that what's really going on? Are we really saying our way is better . . . that we're entitled to feel hostility (or whatever we are talking about) because of "issues". That's when I decided to "ctrl-alt-delete" the expression "issues" from not just my vocabulary, but my psyche. Because a day at the beach has me pretty convinced it's a very thinly veiled rationalization of sin.

Too much, I'm certain of it. How about giving me the benefit of the doubt? I had to get it out there.

And for just a little bit of levity, later I thought about the Prius and how I laugh when I see one. I want to blame Michael Scott and The Office for that ("The Prius is silent if he keeps it under 5 miles per hour".) Then I realized I am rationalizing my judging.

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Melissa said...

It's funny because I had just left that whole bit on my blog about being exasperated AND defiant about my issues with food... which was of course a joke and not what your talking about, but you make a good point. I can definitely feel defiant about my pain and, like you said, feel entitled to it. Logically, I know I would even feel better if I let certain things go! But holding on is its own twisted comfort? (I mean, it's not really comfort, but I can't think of a better word. Because why would I hold on to it if it didn't have its own reward? But I do.)

The upside of issues is that they make for great Woody Allen films. (The ones that actually are great, that is.)

Patti said...

Okay, wait... I reserve the right to have food issues.