Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Liberation of Uncertainty


I had an accident yesterday. There, I said it. Oh, nothing serious, just a fender bender, but enough to put my car into the body shop for two weeks. Yet I am reluctant to say anything about it. That insidious embarrassment that wells over one when something bad or tragic happens, struck me in the moment that I had to call Joe and let him know. What is this sense of being that makes us not want to let others know that we going through a challenging time. What is this feeling that makes us seem culpable for the trouble we have to deal with. It's like we haven't lived our lives right, or something.

I know you must have experienced it too. My friend sadly, and quietly told me his apartment had been robbed recently. I could feel his not wanting to say anything about it, yet something like that needs to be talked about, as you try to regain your balance and make sense of it. He didn't orchestrate the theft himself, yet he seemed to feel responsible for it, in a way that guilt often unjustly and erroneously attaches itself to you. Maybe it was someone he knew, maybe not, but why take responsibility for others actions, especially when you are the victim.

When we or a family member are stricken with a severe illness, the first reaction is to be silent about it, as if no one else knowing would render it not real. As if, we or they had done something terribly wrong and others mustn't know about it. Of course, these things happen, without intent on our parts, but we resist sharing them, as if, we had a plan that went awry.

I remember when my mom passed in '84, I couldn't bring myself to tell anyone. People would call, as usual, and yet I couldn't utter a word about it. It was as if I was going to spread bad news. When friends did find out, THEY spread the word and many people responded with an outpouring of love and affection and appreciation of who she was.

Today, in some ways, there has been a liberation in uncertainty. With the challenges many of us have dealt with, because of economic changes, many more of us are speaking up, as never before, about things that the "oppression of affluence" would have silenced. Conversations about business and work levels are more easily expressed than before. Topics as wide ranging as credit card rate manipulations and property value fluctuations to retirement fund devaluation or employment limitation are easily spoken about, in a way that the "affluent face" would not have dared bring forth. Even the ability to say "no" to our spending propensities have been enhanced. Just let a cold call marketer try to solicit a sale or donation from me these days, I hardly need to search for an excuse to say "no."

An open awareness and expression of the reality in our lives provides a freedom of action that can sometimes be circumvented by false or extravagant presumptions. Adversity is the other half of the coin of life that provides perspective and invention, and could be used in full measure to arrive at a better location in life.

12 comments:

Elissa said...

Oh Glenn! I read your posts often and this is one of your best...all so true and beautifully articulated. Keep it up!
Elissa
elissa@elissagore.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you Glenn Tunstull for sharing thoughts from the Wellspring of life. It is soooooo rejuvenating and liberating.

TheFirstOneLast said...

Glenn,
Many things in life are uncertain, stressful, and lead us down a dark road. Thanks for reminding us of the positive, the life that loves and lives in the present joy of the moment, friends, and hope. Thanks for again showing us the way...

Anonymous said...

Glen, so to hear of your fender bender....glad you are fine.
Trucker John was in an accident last week while driving his dad's jeep in north carolina...got hit from the side. The jeep got totalled, he only bumped up his knees...he's very lucky, cuz the other guy had to be rushed to the hospital....and caused the accident cuz he was TEXTING and driving!!!
One can't be too careful....
Big Hug.
SB

Sandra said...

You're commentaries are always so enlightening. Thank you. I'm sorry to hear about your accident. The most important thing is that your're safe. Stay strong.

Anonymous said...

Dear Glenn:

I am glad that your accident was not so serious, but do understand your point of the guilt about it. As a perfectionist myself, I can see that we may not want to talk about certain issues or situations, for fear of being seen as "not together", when we could be the victims and not at fault. Interesting isn't it???? Anyway, I am delighted that you feel "liberated" to deal with this issue in a mature way.

fashart said...

Glen, You are one of the few people that I've met in my lifetime who I may not see for years at a time and when I here from you (or read your blog) it's as if time has not passed. But, it is passing and I miss you and Joe so much as, I think of you guys often. This addition to your blog was so touching!! I hope to see you soon

Anonymous said...

Hey Glenn, glad to know you're doing fine. Speaking the word is the release we need sometimes. I know I have experienced that same trepidation only to be amazed at how easy it was and how great I felt when it was finally allowed to be expressed. Sometimes I listen to Monique's radio show and she has "Free Your Mind Fridays" when people call in to get "whatever it is" off their mind and into the air. It is amazingly cathartic and, of course comical. Michael

Anonymous said...

Hello Glen:

I hope you are ok I know how unnerving an car accident can be it can just throw your life into a flux. And the all the things around that you have to deal with. But one of the things that it took me several days plug into was accidents are the reason I purchased good insurance. I remember being embarrassed because i caused the accident and it was for a very careless reason on my part. But some thing that i need to be reminded about from time to time with different situations in life is i am not the only person that " it has happened to" . I thought people are going to think what an idiot I must be. The fact of the matter is i am not perfect and nor are situations around me. i an not sure i have really had the oppression of affluence since i have not had affluence. i know that i do not pretend to have what i do not have. I hope I have not missed your point. reached out soon

Sincerely,
Ray

Anonymous said...

Glenn,

I hear you. You take care. Gently massage you visivle and invisible wounds (no matter how small). These micro occurrences do alter where we were in the moment of their occurance.

Be well and kind to you,

Andrea

Andrea said...

Glenn,

I hear you. You take care. Gently massage you visivle and invisible wounds (no matter how small). These micro occurrences do alter where we were in the moment of their occurance.

Be well and kind to you,

Andrea

Anonymous said...

Glenn, I had to share this one with others. You write so beautifully. I don't know anyone who cannot relate to and appreciate what you've written here. I'm glad you're OK. Aquadeedee