Emily Kessel Asplundh died the other day. I have so many thoughts and memories of her, from when I was in elementary school to her 1999 Christmas card, filling my heart and mind. Too much emotion to do anything other than just feel today.
Those feelings are distracting me - in a lovely, bittersweet way - from what I had intended to write tonight.
Instead, I am going to cheat a little and talk about something that I did not write. Just a short piece, it has absolutely nothing to do with Emilie, but has been buzzing about in my brain. It comes from a book of daily readings that I keep on my bedside table and that helps keep me on my toes.
Until I came across it in a daily reading, I had never encountered the idea of willed ignorance. Had anyone asked me to explain it, I doubt I could have, but when I read about it, the whole thing made sense.
Yes, naivete is charming and touching in the young. It was a quality I thought was admirable in adults too, but now I can see the harm that is done with adults who balk at seeing what is right in front of their noses.
As I understand it, "willed ignorance" is intentionally not seeing what is right in front of us. While it is occasionally done deliberately, it happens even more without our full awareness.
For more years than I care to admit, I was an expert at closing my eyes to what was afoot, especially if went counter to my sense of what should be. Even now, it can be a struggle to let myself see what is going on, let myself catch onto what is happening.
There are a lot of perks to NOT seeing or catching on. Life is so much easier, so much rosier, so much happier. It helps us avoid what feels like danger.
What I have to remember – and it is hard – is a quote from Helen Keller, "Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold."
Love to all - Grandma L'