Returning to America after four years in Europe

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Fighting the war against…

I’m up and down a lot these days. One minute I’ll be loving life in Southern California and the next I find myself wondering whether I made the right decision to come back. The moments of doubt are fewer than the periods of joy. But I still have this sense that it will take some time to get re-adjusted.

My dreams are telling me. I left Holland three weeks ago but I am still having anxiety dreams about making sure that everything is moved out of my old apartment. A psychiatrist friend once told me that there are many ways to interpret dreams but the one that matters most is your own interpretation. My self diagnosis, then, is that the empty apartment, or lack thereof, is a symbol of how close or far I am to closing that chapter of my life. There are still pieces sitting around that need to be brought along, stored or tossed completely.

New items appear all the time, like opening a closet only to discover an old drum set that had slipped my mind. It may be obvious to most but I’m realizing I’m only able to open one closet at a time and consider each piece individually. Some of what I am finding is pleasantly surprising while other things are so painful I want to pretend I didn’t notice them sitting there.

I had a great conversation with my wise and insightful friend Jason yesterday. He told me about a quote he recently heard from the era of the American Revolution. It goes something like this: We can’t control whether we win the war but we can control whether we deserve to.

Perhaps we all have wars we are fighting, maybe even several. I am waging a battle for myself and suddenly I find myself facing the question: Do I deserve to win?


At 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with you liberals is that you can't even finish the wars you start for yourselves. ;)

If you'd wanted the 411, you could have asked. The reason that quote has been coming up a lot recently is becuase it's been the center piece of David McCullough's lecture/talk show circuit for his book "1776". Adams used it as did Washington at one point in time. Per Adams:

"Another of those moments in my work where I was almost lifted out of the chair by reading something was when I read the sentence in a letter to John Adams' wife, Abigail, written by Adams at Philadelphia in what seemed one of the darkest moments of the whole story, and he knew how worried she was, how frightened she was of what the outcome of all this might be. And he said to her, "We can't guarantee success, but we can deserve it."

In actuality, the quote was taken from the play "Cato" by Joseph Addison. Addison was big with a lot of the quarrelsome 18th century folk.




Post a Comment

<< Home