119. Introduction to Sunshine Days and Foggy Nights by James Kavanaugh
Some people have a satisfactory theory about life. They understand why they are alive and why there is evil and suffering in the world. They talk easily about love and hate, freedom, pain, death. They seem to know what behavior is good and what is bad.
Others, like myself, have no consistent theory to make life clear. We experience life rather than theorizing about it or trying to understand it. For us life is its own explanation. We may adopt a style of living for a time, then radically change it. We may adhere to some belief, then later dismiss it. Our critics see us As unstable, even selfish. Our friends accept us without needing explanation.
Thus, for us life is not a preparation or even an unfolding awareness. It is simply life—with sunshine days and foggy nights. It does not require interpretation. We feel the sun warm on our faces and it says all that need to be said. We wander through the fog and it speaks to us all by itself.
This is not to say that life is not at times paradoxical and mysterious, or painful and opaque. It is simply to say that increasingly we do not define life or direct its course. We more or less stand back and let it happen. It is not that we never strive. Rather, we are not as conscious of striving.
Great changes have taken place in by life, but they were not the changes I anticipated. They were the changes I permitted to happen The changes that I wanted most earnestly actually occurred when somehow I ceased wanting them I have learned that my distractions are usually more creative than by resolutions.
The work I find the most thrilling and significant drains the least energy. What I take the most seriously seems to bring me the least joy. What I permit to happen to me brings the unexpected pleasure. Seldom have my deepest loves been in the direction I would have expected.
I do not write these words as if I had discovered new truth. I only pay respect to those who have in some way spoken them before me and assisted me in the discovery of myself.
Now my sadness does not frighten me as once it did. Nor does my anger disappoint me. Nor do my many obvious weaknesses leave me empty and discouraged. I can more easily accept rejection without blaming myself. I can be as anxious as I am, as selfish as I seem, as unpredictable as I must be.
I do not know where I am going nor do I need to. I scarcely know where I have been. I cannot offer a plan of life to anyone else nor do I want to. I know only that I feel more really the rhythm of my life than ever before. Somehow life leads me if I permit.
Thus, these poems are as formed and unformed as I am, as sad and joyful, as confused and clear. I do not write of a world I do not experience. I cannot write to change anyone, least of all myself. I write what I see, beauty and pain, joy and distress, restlessness and peace. I write as I am, not as I should be. Thus I write of SUNSHINE DAYS AND FOGGY NIGHTS.