Saturday, July 07, 2007

Spindrift

Track 5: Spindrift

As the waves crash in on the western shore
The wind blows fierce from the east
The wave tops torn into a flying spindrift

As the waves crash in on the western shore
It makes me feel uneasy
The spray that’s drawn away
Is an image of the way I feel

As the sun goes down on the western shore
The wind blows hard from the east
It whips the sand into a flying spindrift

As the sun goes down on the western shore
It makes me feel uneasy
In the hot dry rasp of the devil winds
Who cares what a fool believes

What am I supposed to say
Where are the words to answer you
When you talk that way
Words that fly against the wind and waves

A little closer to you
Where is the wave that will carry me

What am I supposed to do
Where are the words that will make you see
What I believe is true


Admittedly, the words to this song confuse me a little bit. Neil seems clearly to be discussing relationship issues and the various emotions and feelings that exist between loved ones, but it is not clear exactly just what he is talking about. Maybe he meant for it to be ambiguous. Perhaps, as I think someone offhandedly commented on the Rush Message Board, Neil just “had a fight with his ho” and wrote a song about it.

Relationships are hard, especially for people like me who are natural introverts and loners. I’m not such a loner that I don’t want any human contact at all, and I certainly don’t think I’d be happy living alone for the rest of my life, as some people do, but I like plenty of alone time and plenty of space, and I don’t need big doses of face-to-face “together” time in order to feel happy and content in a relationship. Unfortunately, my wife is almost my polar opposite on this front. She doesn’t know what to do with herself when she doesn’t have anyone around to talk to or interact with. She seeks together time in relationships, face-to-face time, intimate talks, physical touch, etc. So our relationship is a constant balancing act – her giving me my space and free time, and me attempting to give her the together, face-to-face time that she needs. It’s not easy.

I think that last stanza really sums up adequately how a lot of people, myself included, approach relationships and debates/arguments. “Where are the words that will make you see what I believe is true?” This hits home especially for me, as I feel like I am constantly battling and debating with friends, relatives, and my spouse, over everything from religion to politics to whose turn it is to change the diapers. We all try to find the words to make the other person understand that we hold the truth. And the “spindrift” is created from these battling truths. Whose truth is the real truth?

Of course, there is also another side to this issue. Sometimes we do, in fact, know that what we know is true. For instance, I may know that I have washed the dishes five times in the last week, no matter how much my spouse argues that I haven’t helped around the house. I may know, through experience, that many Southern Baptist churches are anti-homosexual, even if a Southern Baptist believer tries to argue otherwise. I may know, through experience, that insurance companies are just as sleezy and self-serving as the lazy, pseudo-injured car accident victims who sue them, even if someone else wants to argue that frivolous lawsuits are ruining America. The point is, sometimes we do know what we know, and at those times, it can be extremely frustrating to find the words to make others see that what we are saying is true.

There is one other way to interpret that last line, however. Instead of interpreting it as “How can I make you understand that what I am telling you is true,” it can be read as “How can I make you see what, I believe, is true.” In other words, “I believe this thing is true – how do I make you see that?” It’s not quite so adamant and closed to other opinions. I “believe” this is true, and I want to share that with you. That’s a far cry (excuse the pun) from “My beliefs are true, and I need to convince you of that.”

Of course, this is just philosophical babbling, but it’s important to realize that most people go into debates/arguments believing they hold the truth. One thing I have learned is that if I can give a little leeway to the other person, listen a little deeper, not sit there preparing my counter-response as the other person is talking, I can find that perhaps my own perspective isn’t always right, or, at the very least, perhaps there are other avenues I had not otherwise considered, which might alter or amend my point of view. Too many people, I believe, are unwilling to consider that they might be wrong on a certain topic, whether mundane or imminently important. In his book “Anger: Wisdom on Cooling the Flames,” Thich Nhat Hanh says that most anger comes from wrong perception. In fact, he said that we should not consider any of our perceptions as unassailable. He suggests putting a sign on the wall of your bedroom or office that says “Are you sure?” in order to remind yourself that perceptions, while frequently relied upon by default, are also frequently wrong.

Listening with openness, and letting go of what we believe are unassailable perceptions, is extremely difficult, but it is an invaluable and highly respectable trait. I’m not very good at it, but I am trying.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

A truly excellent musing this week. If you are going to write less often, as you have been, it's worth the wait if they are all this good. The key to marriage and life itself in my opinion is selfless service. Satan tricks us into thinking that life is about what we want and deserve and seeking out pleasures that will fullfill. However, as Christ did by washing the disciples' feet at the Last Supper, we are to serve others above all else. Putting your wife above your self, as hard as it is sometimes, and her serving reciprically (sp?) lays the foundation for happiness in marriage.

deine schwester :) said...

The bottom line problem here is that you think you are going to change someone's mind so you keep arguing. The bottom line truth is that these sort of debates (political, religious, etc.) are pointless because it's almost unheard of that you are going to convince the other person to see your point of view as right or even valid as a personal belief. People are too stubborn and as you said, too convinced that they are absolutely right. It's just pointless to even try to change anyone's mind.

Scott said...

Right, you aren't going to change people's minds with arguments. It's how you act that has the most impact on people.

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