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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Idealism and Realism Collide

I'm an Idealist. You know that. I see everything through the lens of How It Ought To Be and for most of my life, I've expected all of you to see it that way too, clamoring to join the race to the Finish Line of Perfect Achievement and crowd around, rejoicing, slapping backs and patting rears and yelling, "Atta Girl!" and "Atta Boy!" in the Utopian Afterglow.

Are all Idealists born, sliding from the womb, slippery and screaming and seared with the first cold breath, on a trajectory toward the inevitable collision with Reality? Or, is Realism the actual obstacle? I think there's a distinction.

I am there, at any rate. I've crashed into an argument of Should and Ought To Be. It's been turned around upon me, and this morning my husband and I found ourselves wearing its chains, and they are heavy. I don't know what to do with this. We are so weary of hearing the Shoulds and Ought To Bes when they are presented only in theory, presented in formula, and dependent upon such a degree of supernatural Pollyannaism that even I find myself a little queasy from the implied self-deprecating kind of Idealism required for it to work. Rewrite your story, then! Play the Glad Game until you make it look convincing! Fake it! I feel squelched and diminished. Buried under a dust cover. He feels overwhelmed by the burden he SHOULD be carrying well, completely outside of his design and programming.

Neither of us feel like pretending.

There is a reality to Him and Me. There must also be an ideal. Could it be that the Idealist in me has enough tempering by some small seed of Realism that I can finally begin to recognize that the real and the ideal in the us of this story might actually deserve no more than lowercase letters? And can you? Could it be that we (and not just he and I) have squandered far too much effort on prescribing and defining and outlining and dividing and analyzing and overcompensating and suppressing out of fear of failure or fear of something else, that we've forgotten to live by the two words we know to be the most important: Trust and Obey?

Don't complicate it. This is who we are. That's real, isn't it?

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