Smiles, Scars and Goslings

standard June 2, 2013 Leave a response

It’s early evening, and I am sitting here, listening to my ceiling fan hum its favorite tune, not knowing where to start, where to begin. I don’t even know if this will make sense to anyone.

I was reading up on the origins of “May you live in interesting times,” curious to see if there is any history of this oft-quoted phrase, one that we attribute to an ancient Chinese curse. According to Wikipedia, the first evidence of the phrase in use was in 1936, by the British ambassador to China.

The saying does not appear to have a direct equivalent in Chinese. The only traditional Chinese idiom which even seems to be in the ballpark is translated from the original language as: “It’s better to be a dog in a peaceful time than be a man in a chaotic period.”

Agreed. I envy my dog Stormy, how she can just curl up in her bed, ignoring the world outside, content to lounge about all day, beg for pet-pets and treats and go chasing after the goslings at the pond.


Listening to Marilyn Manson’s song “Leave a Scar” has had me thinking recently, especially the line “Whatever doesn’t kill you…is going to leave a scar.” Physical scars, emotional scars, mental scars, they haunt us all.

Life doesn’t necessarily make you stronger for suffering through it, things don’t always get better. The scars left on the heart never go away, we might be able to ignore them as time goes on, but they are still there, hiding, lurking, waiting to be reopened.

Our hearts are like broken bones, they will heal, but they will never be as strong as they were before, they will be more prone to pain and breakage. Essentially…what doesn’t kill you leaves you weaker.

Things that hurt us weaken us over time, make us more fragile, but things that we love, things that bring us joy can help paste over the wounds in our hearts and minds.

I try to focus on the small pleasures in life. Dinner with a close friend, a dog’s bouncing when you walk through the front door. Someone letting me cut in line at the grocery store. The sound of the ice cream truck driving by.

We worry too much about our legacies, what we will leave behind when we are gone. We want monuments built to our memories, our names to be written in textbooks for years to come. While a select few might be so lucky, it is those that cause the greatest harm that are memorialized for eternity. Pol Pot. Caligula. Attila the Hun. Hitler.

I want my legacy to be small but meaningful. I want to brighten people’s days with a smile, lift their mood with a joke. I want that happiness to be spread to the next person, and the next person after that, and so on. I want this world to be full of smiles and happiness, not hatred and vengeance. I want children to grow up without fear, without bigotry.

The best way to start that is with a smile.

Header image // Jim Champion


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