Friday, October 9, 2009

Demand Joy

It's funny to me that I am enamored of these Captain Kirk action types at this time in my life. I've spent much of my adulthood so far protecting and practicing my call to Do Nothing-- to sit, as it were, on a park bench for years.

Yet here I am relishing the alternative wisdom of Theodore Roosevelt, a guy who would have made me shudder with revulsion a few years ago, who said:

"In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing,
the next best thing is the wrong thing,
and the worst thing you can do is nothing."

The thing is, doing Nothing is doing something, though that's not a very American way of thinking. Furthermore, "no thing" may be "the right thing"--if it is a decision, not a fear-based reaction.

But I guess there may come a time in a person's life to get up off the park bench. I just didn't expect that time to come. Has it, for me? Certainly moviemaking requires doing Something in a big way. It's a bit destabilizing... and fun!

Teddy also said:
"The joy of living is his who has the heart to demand it."

That would have sounded unbearably piggy to me in the past. Now I think, yes: demand joy! Or, as some saint said, sin big, like you mean it. (C. S. Lewis wrote that God must surely be disappointed in how little people ask out of life.)

It's my right and my responsibility to decide what "action" is right for me. When it's sitting on a park bench, I want to do it like Teddy would, with relish.

Photo: "Theodore Roosevelt, in retirement, holding his granddaughter, Edith Roosevelt Derby" (1918), from the National Portrait Gallery

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