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Feel Free

"I'm not afraid of dying. I just don't want to be there when it happens."

Woody Allen

I'm surprised how often I see people cringe when the subject of dying comes up in conversation. As if somehow the discussion will hurry the day of our demise.

Of course, there are a lot of things I'd rather not talk about. Right at the top of that list would be "feelings". It's not that I am afraid of my feelings. I just don't want to be there when they happen.

To be clear, I'm not talking about the emotional moments when a performance by one of the kids takes my breath away, or when I'm stunned all over again by how much Katy loves me, or even when I can't finish the hymn we are singing on Sunday morning because I'm overcome by God's kindness.

I'm talking about the soul searching and self-assessment required when some well-meaning person asks, "So, how do you feel about this?" Like I have a clue. And do I have to feel something about everything? Somehow that idea steals something away from the importance of feelings in the first place. If feelings were that easy to sum up in words, would they be as meaningful as we know they are?

It's like printing and framing every snapshot you click off with your high-res digital camera. Admit it. Some are destined for the delete button. Others might represent a nice enough subject, but not the moment that matters or the candid that captures the essence. Even the best are only a dim reflection of reality.

So you see, I don't mind being there when death happens. But when it does, I sure don't want to feel it.

(Thanks to Michael O'Connnor for suggesting this quote. Feel free to send your favorites our way.)

January 22, 2005 | Permalink


I can identify totally..thank you for articulating my "feelings" so well..

Posted by: andrena on Jan 22, 2005 11:49:50 PM

I think I feel that way too.

Posted by: Emperor Joe on Jan 24, 2005 12:05:59 PM


(thanks for the comment)

Posted by: Joshua on Jan 24, 2005 9:30:47 PM

Growing up with a mother who used feelings instead of corporeal punishment. For instance...."Now how do you think he felt when you hit him over the head with your toy?." "Now don't you feel bad about that?" So, yeah, I have a feelings phobia. My feelings are my own business. Don't ask, and don't mess with them.

Posted by: Candace Pfau on Jan 25, 2005 10:28:05 AM

When asked if he wanted his movies to give him immortality, Woddy Allen replied something like: "No, I want to achieve immortality by not dying."
Thanks for your thoughtful writing.

Posted by: Carl Weisbrod on Jan 25, 2005 12:06:54 PM

I'm thinking this "feeling" thing has got to be a guy thing. I'm convinced of it, in fact, and am sure that Jim would FEEL the exact way that you do on the topic. Love ya, Doug...

Posted by: Bridget on Jan 25, 2005 1:29:30 PM

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