I’ve been feeling a lot of Drama in the last few days. People show up here, and I have an open door policy. I love conversation. I love critique. I love feedback. As a person with an open door policy, I try to “love everybody” and just parse the stuff as it comes. That policy may not always work in every case. I accept that there are times and people who do not come to participate in the conversation, and that can undermine the environment for everyone. I have not stopped to talk about it, and I’ve tried to deal with it in a low key fashion. I think at some level I thought that if I just played it off it would turn a corner and things would be fine.
A good friend asked me “why aren’t you more upset about how you’re being treated?” Honestly, I’ve had a hard time getting too upset because of something happening to another friend in blog-land.
We all walk around and deal with Drama. Drama is usually treated as a bad thing, an undesirable thing. Something to avoid. But actually, Drama is the driving force in the narrative that is our individual and collective life stories. Drama drives us, motivates us, propels us. Without drama there is boredom. Sometimes a little boredom is a good thing. A boring life is not.
And, if ancient philosophers are to be believed, Drama is composed of two opposing forces: Tragedy and Comedy. This is why the laughing and crying masks are the heraldry of Theater. And when facing Drama in our lives, we need to look at the Drama, and decide how much of it is Comedy, and how much of it is Tragedy.
There are things in our lives that are total Tragedies. I have seen some of these, and written about them in the past. I’m familiar with them and I remember their bitter taste.
There are things in our lives that are total Comedies. I have seen more than my fair share of those, and for that I feel truly blessed.
Most of the things in our lives are composed of different percentages of Tragedy and Comedy, and the percentages change as things go along. What makes people remarkable is how they navigate those changes. How they deal when the Drama turns from a dollop of Comedy and a hint of Tragedy into a teaspoon of Comedy and a gallon of Tragedy. The most remarkable people are the ones that can navigate those waters without losing stride. Their boat may rock, but they keep on paddling.
Right now, I look at everything here, I ponder how much is really Tragedy and how much more of it is really Comedy; and I compare my tiny tempest against the things other people are right in the midst of fighting through. Great hurricanes that they don’t know if they’re sailing out of, or just sailing further into.
On the other side of the world there is a tiny baby girl. She has a beautiful mother and a wonderful family that all love her in every way that a tiny baby girl deserves. She has a wonderful home to live in, the air outside is preparing for the return of spring, and the whole of her world is preparing to celebrate new life with this tiny little bundle.
But tonight she will sleep in a tiny bed in the pediatric ward of the hospital. Drugged and resting, with parents beside her praying for answers and praying for things to return to boring. For Drama to abate and the sweet doldrums to return.
Her mother is an incredibly talented writer. She can paint something that is perfect Tragedy with the most gentle touches of Comedy at the edges. Just enough light to illustrate the darkness. And she soldiers on. She pushes the doctors, she advocates for her daughter, she seeks knowledge that will only beat her down in the darkness that comes when the lights are off and a parent is alone with their fears.
Out of Drama comes motivation. By facing Tragedy she is propelled to move ahead. She inspires me and I wish there was something I could say or do to make her day just one iota brighter.
When I look around at my own Drama, and I compare my Tragedy and my Comedy, I just can’t get too upset. I’ve seen the darkest darks already, and nothing here compares. Why am I not more upset about how I’m being treated? There is nothing anyone can say to compare to a child in a pediatric ward. We must look at our drama and recognize that every part that isn’t truly a Tragedy is actually just Comedy. I refuse to be beaten down by anything that is so comedic. So ultimately laughable.
If I’m going to invest any moments worrying about Tragedy in the world. I’ll give those moments to a beautiful little girl and pray the she lives many years without drama; and pray that her parents are repaid tenfold in Comedy for the Tragedy – real Tragedy – that they are facing today.