Are you stubborn as a grass stain or as easy going as a light breeze on a warm day? Tell us about the ways in which you’re stubborn — which issues make you dig your heels in and refuse to budge?
I always liked the Groucho Marx quote, “I got principles and if you don’t like them I got others.”
All of us have certain principles. And… there are times when we conveniently excuse ourselves when we break them, but are unflinching, unforgiving, and demanding in what we expect of others.
For many of us “never” is not very long. We violate our own code all the time. The Bible constantly warns us of the dangers of being self-righteous, overly confident, and absolute. “So let the one who thinks he is standing beware that he does not fall.” (1st Cor. 10:12)
Moral principles are one thing and than there are the mundane things. I hope for the strength to maintain moral principles and feed that hope, but always aware that if my guard should be let down those principles could be violated by me. The mundane things; I’m always open to compromise and even acquiescence.
Here is the conclusion to a story about two friends:
Eric’s Aria (Part 2)
Eric smiled. “So you thought you would call the expert on loneliness.”
“No,” Richard said. “Of everyone I know you seem to put things in some sort of perspective. You don’t tell a joke or amusing story. Things just seem to come out of you that make sense. You are an observer and you put dialogue to the scene.”
“Have you been reading Paternak again?” Eric said smiling and sipping coffee.
“No,” Richard said. “I don’t want to read another Russian story about eating a dog to make it through the winter.”
“Oh no,” Eric said. “Please don’t tell me your reading Voltaire or Dumas. Life doesn’t always turn out perfect in the end. Some times life just goes on from one day to the next. The truth is there is often little dramatic change outside your own self-will.”
“Wow, Eric you rally have a way of lifting a person up,” Richard said sardonically.
“I didn’t mean it to add to you bad feelings,” Eric said with apologetic eyes. “But who wants Pollyanna around when your three goals behind in the last period. That’s when you need a dose of reality. It’s time for blood, broken teeth, and swinging sticks. You don‘t start singing The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.”
“What do you do?” Richard ask grimacing after a sip of coffee.
“You dig down deep and let it go,” Eric said with his teeth clinched. He relaxed. “Your coffee okay?”
“How do you do it?” Richard said. “I think it needs sugar and cream.”
“Never mind,” Eric said. “I’ve said too much. Sometimes I switch and go to black.”
“No,” Richard said. “I’ve passed the puck to you and there’s an open net.” Richard stirred sugar and cream into his coffee.
“I hate it when people use hockey metaphors against me,” Eric said. “Think that will help?’ Eric gestured toward the sugar.
“For goodness sake’s Eric drive the puck into the net,” Richard said. “What do you do?” Richard sipped his coffee gave a look of approval. “Now that’s better.”
Eric pressed his lips and breathed deep into his nostrils. “I walk out into the middle of one my fields and sing opera.”
Richard sat back in his chair. “I don’t know any arias, besides they’re usually in Italian. Aren‘t Italians great coffee drinkers?”
“Well that’s it,” Eric said as if a load had been taken off his shoulders. “Cappuccino is Italian.”
“You’ve been holding that in for a long time haven’t you?” Richard said. “Hmm, I didn’t know that.”
“I went to college for a couple of years or so,” Eric said. “I was a singing waiter. I had to learn some famous arias for my job. That was the first time I had a cappuccino.”
“What!” Eric said and sipped.
“You and opera,” Richard said. “I would have never imagined.”
“Well it paid better than washing dishes, busing tables or delivering pizza,” Eric said.
They sipped and stirred for a moment. Richard was retreating further into his glumness.
Eric gulped the last swallow of coffee and stood. He pushed in the chair. “That’s Italian also.”
“I thought it came from Brooklyn,” Richard said.
“Italian immigrants,” Eric said.
“Take care, Eric,” Richard said and raised his hand slightly from the table and stared back into the bown cauldron of his cup.
Eric limped to the door and turned around. Suddenly the diner was full of sound, beautiful sound. Richard looked up. He breathed deep as fresh, clear, and beautifully melodic words come from beyond Eric’s throat. It came from a place so deep it could rescue the most chronically wretched from despair. It was words not understood, but they were feelings that accompanying orchestration would only spoil.
As Eric poured everything into his effort. Tears came from Richard’s eyes. A jaw of the truck driver at the counter dropped. The waitress was immediately in love. The attendant at the gas station came to the door and gaped. The jukebox had never played that loud nor sounded that sincere and beautiful.
Eric finished in a grand way and smiled.
“What is it called,” Richard said.
“Nessun Dorma,” Eric said. “It mean ‘no one sleeps.’ It is a song of despair and hope.”
“Thank you, my friend,” Richard said. “It’s no telling what friends will do for one another.”
Eric smiled wryly. “That used to fetch me as much as fifty dollars in tips.”
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