June 4, 2009

Two kinds of people...

I've just finished re-reading the luminous "Coventry" by Helen Humphreys. It's a lovely book, filled with light and darkness, tales of the bombing of Coventry and the grace and selfishness within that context. The two main characters are Harriet and Maeve, and the author captures their spirits exactly in two short descriptions.
Harriet, despairing of life, is left with nothing after the loss of her husband. "All she has left is the outdoors, and most days this is a noon-hour head down tromp through the muddy farmers' fields that surround Coventry, where she tries desperately to be moved by a single dog rose or the flower of the blackthorn hedge."
Maeve, who has had a challenging life, views it in the opposite way. "But she knows that she has been happy. Her life has been perfect. Even on the bad days there is always something to cleave to, something small, the way the leaves show their undersides in the rain or the way the rain falls in great veils, sweeping down from the darkened sky."
Rereading this was an echo of the conversation I had had that evening with a dear friend, where I described the world as filled with two kinds of people - those who see things and judge them and those who see things and appreciate them.
I've tried to be the appreciative sort. Sometimes this leads me down dark pathways that I don't realize are creepy until I am too far down to turn back. But in my work, being critical was what I did - it was my job - and it gradually turned me into someone I didn't want to be.
In a way, MS has liberated me from that, requiring me to appreciate the little things, the small joys, since looking too critically or too far ahead leads to depression and despair. Sometimes, as with Harriet, my search for cheering sights is a grim, head down one, but I aim for more Maeve in my life. Like Tarot's Fool, I like to look upwards while not necessarily watching where I tread.

1 comment:

Sheila said...

So perfectly stated. You are a wordsmith of the highest order!