One of my best friends got married over the weekend. The first of my close friends whose wedding I attended, and it might be a little unmanly to say it but I was actually quite moved by it.
Last night, as I was reading through the compendium of beautiful poems by Garrison Keillor aptly named Good Poems, I came across a poem that I fell in love with back in my University days at UWA (the University of Western Australia): The Cloths of Heaven, by W. B. Yeats:
Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light;
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
The poem reminded me of the speeches that the bride and groom gave over the weekend, which to me felt were beautiful not because they were polished, but precisely because they were the opposite of that: raw; slightly apprehensive; and yet absolutely sincere.
Here’s wishing you all the best Mr. & Mrs. Ng. May you both tread carefully on each other’s dreams for a long time to come.
31 Oct Bonus: I was (re)reading one of my favourite books (Words I Wish I Wrote by Robert Fulghum) when I came across this piece that I felt too apt not to share, and which encapsulates so wonderfully how I hope we all treat out significant others and/or close friends:
“Where’s home for you?” a stranger asks a fellow traveler on a plane.
“Wherever she is,” comes the reply, as the man points at his wife.
I came across this article (pictured below, with text typed out for your convenience) while browsing through the magazine Psychology Today while at the library this afternoon, regarding why one may feel not truly listened to when the person whom you’re talking to seems to be doing something else, even if that person were to be able to recite what you’d just said verbatim (word for word).
Communication is very much more than just hearing the words and memorising what that person just said. I think it’s quite like when the music on the radio’s too soft to be heard except for the major beats and rhythms — though you may know what song is playing and can more or less make out the melody, the experience of the song is completely flat as when compared to the if the music was turned up just right.
Here’s the text in the article (it’s the kind of article where readers submit their problems and an expert tries to help them out):
Title:MARIE ANTOINETTE MEETS TEXTING
Reader’s letter:My fiance is a wonderful man, and we have a happy life together. But there is one big thing we can’t seem to reach an agreement on. He thinks it’s normal that, when I’m speaking to him, he can text on his cell phone, do stuff on the computer, or play his guitar. He thinks that’s just the way the communication has evolved in our society, and that he’s perfectly capable of doing any of these things while attentively listening. But I feel unimportant, not special, and not very loved. I feel like shutting down. When I ask him to please look at me when I speak to him, he insists I am displaying a “Marie Antoinette attitude” and demanding the world to stop what it is doing just to “drink my words.” I am having a hard time accepting this.
Experts’ response: Do we need to drag out the studies showing that he’s deceiving himself? The thing about multitasking is that it breeds overconfidence in one’s capacities. And passively listening, to whatever degree he’s hearing the words that you utter, is hardly the same as being engaged in a conversation, which is a fairly minimum requirement for intimiate relationships–any relationships. Remind Textboy that personal relationships are “personal” for a reason. If he can’t give that, what else is there? Of course you feel like shutting down when you’re not getting it. By not paying attention to you when you’re talking, he is communicating plenty — that you’re not as important as his cell phone or his guitar. Then there’s the fact that there’s much more to communication than hearing some words; a great deal of information is transmitted nonverbally. I doubt whether Textboy would be so keen on texting if his boss asked him to come in for a chat. Looking someone in the eye is the primary path to being understood, and to do less than that is uncivil and disrespectful. That’s the core problem — the disrespect. That’s why it hurts and prompts you to shut down. The next time he wants to talk to you, be sure to have your cell phone handy and get busy with it, without explanation. A dose of his own disrespect might speak louder than your words. [END]
Back in a week, it’s probably as short as most business trips go. But still there were many times I think we both felt that it felt like Perth all over again (four months of not seeing each other!)
I still remember when she went to Qatar for her last business trip. Also another week-long affair, seeing her after the week we were both asking ourselves, “who is this person standing in front of me?”
Reminds me of the times I look through some old photographs of “me” which I don’t remember — there’s a vague resemblance, but yet again there’s an equally vague strangeness. Is that really me? Was that really me? If it was, is it still the I who I am now?
To Lix: already missing you too! and looking forward to the you of next week :)
And I’m pretty sure she’s thinking of me
‘most every minute of every day.
Just like I am of her.
And I’m pretty sure she’d love to read this
as much as I’d love her to read it
as she’s sitting in some boring meeting,
dreaming about the weekend coming up,
the one that’d see her flying back to Singapore
and back into my arms.