Either/Or

“They are simple stories, with all their ambiguity and half-disguised irony…the embodiment of everything Danish.” ~ Bo Lidegaard, on the stories of Hans Christian Andersen

– Peace demonstration in front of the Christiansborg palace –
   For Danish class the other day, we read an article on Danish culture and history, and the author spoke of Søren Kierkegaard as a philosopher who “insisted on our ultimate and total individual responsibility.” Kierkegaard believed that the “setting free of the individual is possible only if combined with faith,” leading to the belief that “God’s not dead, but very much alive. What matters, however, is not the intellectual logic of something superior to man, but the instant, naïve belief – the gift of grace. Faith is thus about our deeds, our attitude towards our own life and that of others, our capacity for loving and for being the subject of affection – our very existence.”
    When reading that, I was reminded of a quote from the book One Day, where one of the main characters Emma is reflecting on life and its purpose.  “To live passionately and fully and well,” she thinks, “to love and be loved, if you ever get the chance. Not to change the world, but the little bit around you.” I think that’s all we really can hope for, to change the little bit of world around you, and to love and be loved. So there’s that: finding that person to love and to love you back. “It comes when you least expect it,” people keep telling me. “It’ll catch you off guard.” I try not to think about it then, so that I can be caught off guard, but the very act of thinking about not thinking about it is a catch-22. So it’s a circle of irony, and I know that I’m not alone in that feeling; it’s a shared sort of loneliness, I guess. And maybe it’s only hard because I make it harder for myself with second-guessing and over-analyzing, and why should it have to be that way? Comparison. That’s my problem. And the monster called “If Only.” And at a time in our lives when it seems that everyone is looking for someone to be with or is already with someone, this makes it harder. Sometimes, I feel like Phoebe in Friends, where she says, “You’re right, Ross. I have never been in a long-term relationship. What’s wrong with me?”


– Courtyard of the palace at sunset –
    And I have to remember that we’re still young, and we have time.  So I try to enjoy the here and the now and not think too much about that, and  instead, keep trying my hardest to “live passionately and fully and well,” and give as much love as my heart can hold to those around me. I keep going back to that E.E. Cummings poem…. I have to learn to let things go because when I do, so comes love.
– View from the tower at the palace –
   It was a beautiful day yesterday, so after practicing and lunch with a friend, I decided to go to the top of the Round Tower at the Christiansborg Palace. From slightly inside the courtyard wall of the palace, an elevator took me up to 5th floor – the elevator was called the “King’s Lift”! But it was really just a regular old elevator – and then another elevator up to the Tower. Around and around a spiral staircase, till the light started to filter onto the steps, out a glass door, and all of sudden: the bluest sky, sharp cold wind, and the squall of birds flying slightly below the arching windows. And it was such a romantic view. Romantic in the sense that, yes, I wish I had someone special to share it with me, but also in that every day, I find myself falling for the city more and more.
     Falling in love with the winding streets that always always get me lost, the red brick buildings and the green roofs, the way the sunlight hits the snow on the cobblestone streets, the quiet on the S-Tog train and the stressful bustle on the bus (ok, maybe I don’t really like this so much), the café/bookstore that I go to every Friday for coffee and catch-up reading, the kids all bundled up in their huge, puffy snowsuits, the blankets draped over chairs in courtyards (that I’ve never ever seen being used because nobody in their right mind would sit outside right now and freeze to death by choice, and the park right outside of where I live that is so peaceful and quiet when blanketed in snow.  It is both hard and very lucky to have the heart in many places, in CO, in TN, in Vancouver, and here in Denmark. I miss my friends and family that I’ve left in each place, but how lucky am I, that pieces of my heart belong to each one?
 – Sunset at the courtyard of the palace –

 

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