Listen

Philip - Norfolk, Virginia
Entered on December 5, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

It started out as an easy cop-out solution for an assignment procrastinated on for too long. I was gonna sit down, and tell you that I believed in ‘Winter,’ under some rigamarole about how it was easier for me to put faith in my experiences, in my individual moments, rather than in universal concepts like love or courage, or some such metaphysical nonsense. I could be vague and nostalgic, and make it look good; I might even get an ‘A’. But it wouldn’t really mean anything, to me or to anyone else.

But as I stood outside smoking, feeling the first real chill of the season and gathering my thoughts, it occurred to me that I didn’t have a bad point, though. What has a more defining effect on someone than his or her own personal experiences? Here, allow me to share some of my experiences with you: My winter moments.

That first faint hint of woodsmoke burning my nostrils, welcoming the arrival of the chill.

Deserted beaches, drained of color under cloudy skies.

The way the pavement at the entrance to the Pine St. mall in Seattle sparkled so magically under holiday shoppers’ feet; that one night, that one year.

Pulling my girl closer to me on cold mornings, the bedroom dimly lit by the grace of daylight-savings time.

These, and more, are the experiences that make up, for me at least, this concept ‘Winter.’ I believe in it. It hasn’t let me down yet. Nostalgia is a powerful force, huh?

I could do this with just about anything. And anybody else taking a moment to think could come up with experiences of equal validity. It doesn’t have to be as a big as a season. Some punk band’s new single, or a slogan read in passing on a train, could provide enough of a mental landmark to attach some personal faith to.

So, it’s not the subject of the belief that’s important. It’s the subject of the believer. Why would I want to persuade you to believe what I believe, to have faith in what I have faith in? Then I’d miss out on all the moments that you have lived through. I’d be too high up on my soapbox proselytizing to learn a single thing from you.

So I’d rather listen. I’ll have plenty of opportunities to share my moments, my ‘beliefs.’ But I might have only this one moment to listen to you share yours with me. You are important, and I’ll listen and let you tell me why.