Another memory

Nantucket Wines © Natalia Martinez

Here is the second part of that college graduation letter I dug up in “Message in a Bottle” a couple of posts ago. I”m amazed at it simulatensouly rings true and seems naive.

[…] All of us are taking off to find what we want to do, correct old plans, follow odd dreams. It seems somewhat silly to be happy simply because people are doing what they said they would, but when it comes to growing up and the decisions and responsibilities it incurs, I think of how little we truly know about the larger paths we’re taking, but how blessed we are to have a full life to question and search for those answers. Actually reaching your hopes is a celebration in and of itself.  I hope you realize what a beautiful moment this end/beginning really is, brimming with surprises, boiling over with opportunity. And as I look at all of us, I firmly believe that:

a.) In uncertainly, there lies limitless potential.

b.) There are no ordinary moments.

And that is my little, rambling, naïve, slightly incoherent, optimistic twist on the unavoidable reality of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Physics – you can never tell with 100% certainty where you (or an electron!!!! I’m so a physicist’s daughter) are or will be – and the opportunities that come with this freedom.

On a different note, as the “real world” which you are all entering is harsher, rougher, wilder… a Henry James quote comes to mind, “Evil is insolent and strong; beauty enchanting but rare; goodness very apt to be weak; folly very apt to be defiant; wickedness to carry the day; imbeciles to be in great places, people of sense in small, and mankind generally, unhappy. But the world as it stands is no illusion, no phantasm, no evil dream of a night; we wake up to it again for ever and ever; we can neither forget it nor deny it nor dispense with it.”

I noticed that James says goodness is weak. Weak why, because it is tempted, distracted away, torn by force? For me, goodness is what I see in you all, who set out to the ends of the earth armed with goals, passions, and most importantly, a thirst for knowledge. Goodness is what I see in people who turn the basest human drives into constructive energy, in what reflects in the eyes of the dedicated and faithful, in the resistance against one’s personal vices. I see goodness as neither abstract nor passive, and certainly not as the frail, submissive ally of truth. It is a fighter, and if it wavers in this fight, it is from exhaustion, not weakness. Perhaps my definition has been too broadened over the past several years, weathered a bit by pain and touched by growth, but I’d rather have simpler, more inclusive criteria than a selective, high-brow categorical breakdown. Then again, I also clearly lack all of the answers and am in at least partial agreement with Magritte that, no matter how hard you may try to portray something in painting or in writing, you will never fully succeed in defining the real thing. It’s always going to be an inferior, grayer version… much like my non-definition of goodness pales in comparison with goodness itself, whatever it may be. In any case, what I meant to say is: don’t get corrupted and saddened and cynical out there.

I wish that your lives be filled with surprises, because they bring the most spontaneous smiles; that you are humbled by and sincerely grateful for your blessings; that your hard work always yields the fruits you wanted (and then some); that you always question, search, and hopefully find; that you encounter at least one person whose touch is electric to you; that you remember to sometimes be silent, because words can fracture the magic; that you don’t confuse mediocrity for simplicity, always fighting for the greater of the two; and that you force yourself to take leaps of faith, because that is when we learn the most. In short, I hope that your respective lives leave you feeling happy, lucky, somewhat tired, and with a breathless “thank you” on your lips.

I am proud of and thankful to have crossed paths with you!


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