A Wonder and a Delight —-

 

Back in 1930 Edith Hamilton wrote in her classic, The Greek Way:

“The Greeks were not the victims of depression. Greek literature is not done in gray or with a low palette. It is all black and shining white or black and scarlet and gold. The Greeks were keenly aware, terribly aware, of life’s uncertainty and the imminence of death. Over and over again, they emphasize the brevity and the failure of all human endeavor, the swift passing of all that is beautiful and joyful. To Pindar, even as he glorifies the victor in the games, life is ‘a shadow’s dream.’

“But never, not in their darkest moments, do they lose their taste for life. It is always a wonder and a delight, the world a place of beauty, and they themselves rejoicing to be alive in it. Quotations to illustrate this attitude are so numerous, it is hard to make a choice. One might quote all the Greek poems there are, even when they are tragedies.”

And us? How do we in the 21st century view life? Because I have so recently experienced at first hand “life’s uncertainty and the imminence of death” my world is newly drenched in shining colors. Will it last?

Of course the ancient Greeks didn’t have to contend with daily hammer blows from the morning newspaper, endlessly, relentlessly tolling the daily evil, methodically reducing the stuff of our world to a suffocating dark gray pall, let alone with the 24/7 chroniclers of doom, cable television. (Although ironically enough, modern Greeks are right up there in the front lines suffering today’s evils.)

Some reports claim that one in ten Americans suffers from depression. In the new DSM V manual, that Bible of medical diagnosis, sorrow and grief at the loss of a loved one lasting for more than two weeks will be newly defined as symptoms of the gray blanket of clinical depression. Who and what reflects our shining blacks and whites and scarlets and golds to us?

Where do you find your wonder and your delight? What helps you to rejoice in the world, and being alive in it? If we share our treasures, they will surely be increased —

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This entry was posted in Art, Death, Etcetera, Happiness, Life and Death, Quotes, Wisdom and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to A Wonder and a Delight —-

  1. coolfeline says:

    This is the type of post where commenting could turn into blogs 🙂 Good reading…
    So … they have decided that the process of mourning shouldn’t be longer than two weeks, huh?!
    I’ve often found the word ‘depression’ somewhat mis-used — what’s a pure and adequate reaction to something that’s happened, and what is depression?! I’d say the latter is the gray, heavy blanket that inhibits you from doing/feeling pretty much anything — where nothing is black or white or any other colour, for that matter. When you sit around, watching the dust roll around on your floor, but just cannot bring yourself to drag out the vacuum… The word for a serious clinical condition, is sometimes used too … lightly.

    I supposed I have a bit of a melancholic streak in me, I often tend to lose hope of the human race. I find my sense of wonder and delight in nature, big time. Every now and then, though … there is a little something that gives me a glimpse of hope. Bizarre as it may sound …9/11 does — the way people came together and helped one another… gave me some hope.

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    • Touch2Touch says:

      It would be wonderful if the comments DID turn into a blog-on-its-own!
      You’ve certainly started it off well, Rebekah.

      I remember going into Manhattan a week or so after 9/11 and being struck by the quiet on the subways and how polite people were to each other, it was amazing —- uncanny — and, yes, hopeful —

      Like

  2. “Where do you find your wonder and your delight? What helps you to rejoice in the world, and being alive in it?”

    Such marvelous questions, ones we perhaps do not ask ourselves often enough. Mine are most clear upon waking, and again when counting my blessings at night. There’s the realization, upon opening my eyes, that indeed, I can still see – the singing colors of sky and earth, the things that I love that surround me, the wee birds at the feeder, that there is just enough milk left in the bottom of the bottle to lighten my tea. There is the silence that descends when I leave work and come home to my cottage, where sunlight lies in a warm puddle on the floor or on rainy days, the half-light snuggles about me like soft blanket. I am delighted each time I see or talk with my children and grandchildren, when a child at school hugs me, when the voices of the children next door filter through the thin walls a good book throws up around me. And at night? The list of blessings is so long, I fall asleep before I ever reach the end. I know there’s wrong in the world, and often enough it enters mine, but deep depression is held at bay by a deliberate fostering of what’s good in my world. I often despair of our species but then some small act of kindness or beauty redeems us all. Like this post, for instance 🙂

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    • Touch2Touch says:

      Oh, Pauline! It was worth writing the post to have this prose-poem in response. I’d just been catching up on the pleasures of your blog after my long hiatus, and came to Waiting for the Magic to Hit (this may be the link? — which is utterly magical, how appropriate!
      And I was thinking how can you outdo yourself? And here you’ve done it. Your wonder and delight are palpable — and inspiring.

      Like

  3. Stef says:

    Treasures can be found every day for those who try to open their hearts to the amazing experience we simply call “life”.

    For a year I documented one daily treasure (though I usually experienced many in a single 24-hour period) – if anyone is curious, they can read the collection here: http://smilekiddo.wordpress.com/

    🙂 Helpful?

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  4. Several years ago, I had gotten into the nightly habit of writing down three things for which I was grateful that day. It was fascinating what small (but huge) things I found every day…EVERY day. I could go for weeks and not repeat: the sun, the rain, the snow, the breeze; the flowers, the leaves, the bare branches; the friend, the lover, the stranger, the cat. It gave my days a sense of beauty and buoyancy. It is hard to be influenced by the nay-sayers when you practice seeing the blessings all around you. This post was a good reminder to get back into that habit! Thanks!

    Like

    • Touch2Touch says:

      Ditto, Jen!
      You remind me of a darkish period when I began a “gratitude diary” like you describe— which produced the most amazing results in my outlook.

      The other day I saw a fox with a HUGE brush trot across the back lawn and disappear back up the hill and into the trees and rocks. I’ve been amazed and grateful ever since, so I think that’s where I’ll begin. Enjoy your holiday Monday!

      Like

  5. tms says:

    Last night we walked home after our car broke down, meandering through what looked like a herd of youngsters (16 to 18 years old), some of them too drunk to walk straight, one unzipping and then turning into some people’s doorway to…
    We live in what you’d probably call a decent neighbourhood here. It really made me wonder at the state of our city, or country, or society.
    Then again, every once in a while my wife and I stop in our tracks and just tell ourselves that life is basicallly good, with good friends, dance and dinners, walks by the water and love – of course – bearing witness to this delightful side. Not losing the taste for life – that’s the point!
    And if I can create some beauty, that is more than satisfying!

    Like

    • Touch2Touch says:

      The mixedness of everything —
      The region we live in, the Pioneer Valley, is home to five colleges, four of them small and elite, the fifth a major state university. Education is our main economic industry! But the report in our local paper after every weekend is of all the drunken student brawls and arrests spilling into surrounding areas. So I know what you mean. There are “street people” here too, and drug dealing, and crime —
      On a bad day one wonders, like you, about the state of our world.

      But then, as C.S. Lewis said in one of his books, we are surprised by joy! Which renews our taste for life. As you say, that’s the point.
      Your photographs are indeed artifacts of beauty, which also renews the taste for life — for you and for us.

      Have a joyful Sunday —

      Like

  6. Cynthia says:

    Hmmm. “Where do you find your wonder and your delight? ” I wish I had the money to place that question on a billboard in my neighborhood or to fill a page of all the newspapers. It is a question for which there is no right or wrong answer, no way (I think) for people to get into silly, endless arguments. A question to make people pause. They need not even share their answers. But the very act of reflection, even if only for a moment, might be life changing. Maybe … 😉

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    • Touch2Touch says:

      A question to pass along!
      Everybody (like in school, political debates, etc.) seems to feel that answers are the important things. They aren’t. The right questions are!
      Thanks for your important comment, Cynthia.

      Like

  7. mybrightlife says:

    This has been so inspiring. Thank you to all of you. I love life and living and get really frustrated sometimes at how fast it goes by! Starting from today my two beautiful little girls and I will be implementing some of the lovely ideas spoken about, such as writing down one new thing that we are grateful for. So important to keep aware!

    Like

    • Touch2Touch says:

      I am so glad you discovered this post, and that it may be useful for you and your lovely girls.
      Your photos of the wildlife and flora of South Africa make it clear that you live surrounded by things of “wonder and delight” — how marvelous.
      Thanks so much for your visit and comment.

      Like

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