An End, A Beginning

I’m in shock that it’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve posted anything. And yet, I’m not surprised. My life has been horribly busy lately, what with officer responsibilities and demanding classes with ruthless amounts of homework. Not to mention I’ve gladly devoted most of my free time to being with my boyfriend. He I’m most thankful for.

No matter all my distractions, whether academic or love-ridden, no matter unwanted or welcome, there’s no reason to not post here. I’ve been thankful, especially of one thing in particular, but I haven’t put that thankfulness into words, and that was what I wanted to do when I started Thankful Thursdays. I’ve been inspired, and awed, but I haven’t felt that tug of a budding story. My will to write has recently fleeted. It’s left a part of me feeling cold, but in all the warmth of my current happiness, that too has gone unnoticed.

I’ve been focused on politics a lot lately. Unconstitutional goings-on at school have held my attention, and local anti-LGBT legislation has been fueling a smoldering fire inside me. Every day as I become closer to and happier with my boyfriend, the stark realization of all the rights that the law says we are not granted dawns on me like sunshine on a toxic swamp: Not until the moment you can see all of it, is its disastrous nature realized.

Likewise, internationality and far-reaching philosophies can truly open a guy’s eyes to all that he has, but does not realize he owns. It’s made me want to bring a new aspect to my thankfulness. So far I’ve spoken mostly of things, of concepts, of intangible parts of my life that give meaning to living. Friends, Skype, sleep, time, compassion… All of them are important. I’m thankful for all of them. But there’s so much more to be thankful for.

So here’s an to an ending, but also to another beginning.

34. Understanding

Hark, another concept? Another vague idea? Hardly. It should already be apparent what I mean by this. Understanding is the foundation of all human knowledge, the fuel for which all activities either flourish or are fueled. It’s understanding that has changed my life. It’s understanding now that I speak of that’s changing the direction of my thankfulness.

Let me start at the beginning. Or something that works as well as a beginning. I’ve spoken of happenstance: when two things, totally by chance, seemingly out of chaos, reduce the entropy of the universe and bring things into perfect order, perfect alignment, so that everything proceeds perfectly. And I’ve spoken of synchronicity: when things, out of chaos, seemingly by chance alone, happen in tandem to create something even better, something flawless and perfect and unplanned. They may seem similar, but there’s a subtle difference. Happenstance is the moment of coincidence (which itself we can define as co-incidence–the happening of two incidents in unison), but synchronicity is something that’s shared, the unity that is perhaps founded by happenstance. Happenstance is that my boyfriend, before ever meeting me, met my ex’s current boyfriend. Synchronicity is when I log on to Facebook to ask if he wants to put our status there and he’s already asked me the same thing.

Happenstance is when things work out in the end. Synchronicity is when things work together without planning it.

So it was happenstance that got me where I am today. A chance suggestion by an advisor when the math class I’d originally wanted was full; a chance prolonging of my trip to Israel because of unfortunate financial complications, and thereby a delay in my beginning college; a chance four-people, four-positions realization that made me VP of the GSA; a chance encounter with a religion teacher, who happened to be the advisor of our honor society; the chance withdrawal of another officer that pushed me into the role; a chance meeting of pixels online; a chance thread of inspiration spanning eras of time.

But it’s been synchronicity that has kept me going. An attunement to timing, an eye for ingenuity, a voice for persuasion, a willingness to take action. A slowly-growing love of leading, from me, the shiest boy in my religious school only ten or thirteen years ago. Not to mention the relationships I’ve formed along the way, the ones that have largely been the fuel and motivation for my progression, the friendships I’ve hit off right away, the friendships that I know will last ages after. These moments of synchronicity have given happenstance direction. Life itself is a vector of boundary conditions and integral transformations.

Of course, all of this just barely touches the roots of what I’m getting at. What I love is understanding. I want to know. Gemini’s are signs of knowledge and inquiry, and Aquarians are signs of ingenuity and progression. Yes, I’m primarily a Gemini, but my moon–the side of me that people see first and foremost–is in Aquarius. The serpent, too, is a sign of wisdom, of persuasion and fascination. It’s my mind that gives me form (cogito ergo sum), but it’s my scales that give me attention.

I’m still speaking in generalizations, aren’t I?

The truth is, understanding is one of those concepts that you learn to understand intuitively. But I’m thankful for understanding nonetheless. I can explain what I understand, I can explain how it’s the want to understand that has fueled all scientific inquiry throughout time, I can speak of all the individual things I’ve come to understand that have shaped me into who I am today, but to explain how that understanding happens? It’s impossible. Understanding itself is an instance of epiphany, a conglomeration of happenstance and synchronicity.

Understanding opens our eyes. It allows us to grow. It gives us new direction and new strength to keep going in the direction we’re going. It gives us insight and it gives us foresight and it gives us clear sight that lets us take what we know and move forward with it. Perhaps I can’t explain how it happens, or where it comes from necessarily, but it’s there. And it’s understanding that I think we all need most, understanding of what’s going on, understanding of who we are, and understanding of each other. And it’s understanding that I’m thankful for now. Without it, I’d be no one.

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One thought on “An End, A Beginning

  1. I read this post a week ago, and by happenstance I also solved a cryptogram that day that fittingly described what I see as both the problem and the beauty of understanding.

    “Betweterig bekend met een melodie.” which translates to “Arrogantly familiar with a melody.”

    The solution was “Eigenwijs” which basically translates to “own way.” but means “stubborn”. “To make x one’s own (way)” (eigen maken) means familiarizing yourself with something, “wijs” meaning both “tune, melody” and “way.” Stubborn and arrogant can also be synonymous in Dutch.

    (In case you didn’t know: cryptograms are solved by finding two or more abstract or concrete solutions within a cryptic sentence. Meaning: two solutions being the same word.)

    And that is what understanding is, is it not? To make a position (be it lifestyle, perspective, personality) your own: to experience it as were it your own, to empathize to a such a degree that it synchronizes you with what you are understanding.

    To be able to understand and accept you must be able to place yourself in the same position as someone else is in.

    And that is the problem: understanding misses and bigotry begins when those people that are incapable of seeing themselves in another position unjustly fend off what is not (yet) theirs.

    Really all I wanted to say. :)

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