A Season for Reason and Introspection by Warda Wanamaker

A Season for Reason and Introspection by Warda Wanamaker

In life we are consistently confronted with choices that hold substantial consequences in creating and shaping who we are. We can choose not to take the challenge and allow life simply to be guided by the form of the world around us, or we can choose to develop a voice for ourselves. We can cultivate a proud conscience that informs and frames our world and the decisions we make, decisions that are so fundamental in the navigation of this complex maze called existence.

ee cummings wrote an amazing poem entitled ‘somewhere i have never travelled’ in which he speaks of the adventure of companionship and love. It appears strange, whimsical and oddly beautiful all at the same time. 

                   * * * * *
somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

                   * * * * *

But ... and a huge but here, for teenagers and parents, sexuality and the oncoming prospect of girlfriends and boyfriends is never easy or whimsical. There’s huge hesitation on both ends.

Sexuality and the discovery of passionate feelings towards another person as a teenager is never as whimsical as the poets suggest and as movies make it out to be. It is all rather confusing, exciting and sometimes scary since we don’t know quite how to approach and navigate it – not knowing whether to trust the older generation and religious dogma or whether to ignore all convention and simply let life just happen. Is there a middle ground? Our confirmation group recently discussed, explored and interrogated this topic from all angles, perspectives and in dialogue with Robert, Dan and Helen.

What it all boils down to is having a strong sense of self, the courage to explore who we are, the conviction to stick by the values that we hold important – such as trust, honesty, faith – and the ability to recognise the grave consequences of irresponsible decisions. And having the strength of will in the face of a world that pressures young people to bend to idle trends and a culture that cheapens relationships and the value of love and respect for ourselves and our partners.

Sex, that heavily loaded word and its conundrum of meanings, can be a wonderful experience, if we choose to share this intimacy with someone when we are ready and in a committed relationship such as a loving marriage. Old fashioned and clichéd, maybe, but as the writer of Ecclesiastes puts it: ‘There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest .... A time to embrace and a time to turn away.’

Timing is everything in this world and the manner in which we choose to spend our time ultimately allows for our joys and sorrows. So as young people it is important that we take heed of these precious words that time is fragile like our feelings. Sometimes what we lose today we may not be able to recover. So we need to learn to use time with wisdom and remember that each act, in each moment, reflects an important part of who we are and shapes who we will become.