Wednesday, December 20, 2006


It seems to me that sometimes tradition and decorum are right. In this day and age, we tend to prize the new, the avant garde, anything that seems fresh, or puts the old ways on their head. And sometimes that is the right thing to do. I believe in fresh wineskins, but they are only recognized as that in light of the old. And to toss away the old simply for it's own sake is to lose the path to the present and the context by which we now live. This scares me. We seem all too eager to cut off our feet to make room for a new hairdo.

I have a friendship that reminds me of this. My friend is English, and continually surprises me with his conservative and respectful manner. First of all, I'm an American, and we are used to the back-slapping familiar. We have Maury, Jerry Springer, Oprah-we have no trouble hanging our bloomers out for all to see. Though this man is younger than myself, has seen much more of life and certainly could be classed as "hip", he is down right old-fashioned in a way that makes me aware I need to be more of a lady. We have lost a certain code of ethics in our daily concourse that innately keeps some distance. And the season is a time when we have prized and precious traditions struggling to co-exist with the most crass displays of greed and materialism. Not only that, there is a loss of respect for it's own sake for these traditions. I'm rather tired of being reminded I need to say "Happy Holidays" out of respect for other people's belief systems. I long for the respect of my own, because I believe the God I worship is God.

In the end I realize I need to earn respect. I know at times I've lost it around my friend because he sees the world in a certain way. I don't think it was intentional on my part, but I want to be someone who could still be classed as genteel in a way that is proper for a woman. My friend is in prison, and I keep thinking the connection to a female who behaves properly may be one of the few links he has to a more civilized existence. I know being involved in the prison system can take the little a person has of tenderness and crush it to pieces like a fragile glass ornament.


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