Saturday, April 02, 2011

Grace--or a good rant?

Squirrel bulletin: this is my new super-duper bird feeder. It has spring-loaded perches--a bird's weight doesn't do anything, but a squirrel's weight closes them down. I put it up this morning, and at first I saw neither birds nor squirrels, but by afternoon I saw a brave bird eating; when another bird came along, he'd chase it away--there are plenty of perches, for pete's sake! They are really mean and squabbling little creatures. Several were fluttering around and chirping; even the papa cardinal flitted by a few times. I suppose they'll get used to it. One squirrel got on it and prowled up and down, never did get any seed that I could tell--and I stood inside and watched. It occurred to me if he went at it upside down he might get some--here's hoping he doesn't figure it out.
Last night I read a blog about grace, that quality that is bred into southern girls. Now, being a northerner, I could beg off, except that I know my mom tried hard to teach me about grace, with such sayings as "You catch more flies with a teaspoon of sugar than a cup of vinegar." It's a lesson I've learned to a certain degree. Grace is about turning the other cheek, meeting an insult with a smile, being above the fray. I'm sure it makes you look the better person, but sometimes it surely is hard. The woman who wrote the blog got a cancer diagnosis and a pink slip from  her employer in the same day and yet she managed apparently to handle them with grace. What she wasn't able to handle so easily was counseling her young daughter on how to handle insults.
Sometimes a rant is good for the soul. I let loose with a rant (mild) at someone near and dear to me yesterday. I felt better, but I don't know about the recipient. Still, I'd been carrying the burden of my hurt with me for several days--as my kids would tease me, "My nose was out of joint." So I unburdened myself. I think if I'd relied on grace, I'd still be carrying that burden--not good for my soul. And sometimes those things you want to rant about and don't get buried deep and come back to bite when you least expect them. The trouble with a rant is that you never know if it's justified or if you're being petulant and you can end up feeling guilty for petulance.
My conclusion: grace most of the time, but an occasional rant if you're sure it's justified and the object of your rant will listen. What's your thought on grace or a rant?
Went to a wrap-up party tonight for the highly successful poetry symposium at TCU, featuring Billy Collins, former poet laureate of the United States and a poet with many books to his credit. I went with my friend Mary Volcansek--we joked about being dates, but neither of us really wanted to go alone. To my delight there were several people there I wanted to say hello to, and I met some new faces, including the writer Alex Lemon who recently made a good splash with a memoir. He's on the TCU faculty and I'd heard a lot about him but never met him--liked him a lot. So it was fun. Mary and I stayed an hour and left--just enough time to greet the people I wanted to but not so long that I hung around wondering who I should talk to next. And it was good to get dressed up (well, sort of) on a Saturday night and go out.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I'm with you - grace most of the time, but an occasional rant if you're sure it's justified:) I find myself telling my students to 'take the high road' - even though it's more difficult it builds character:)