1 EAGLETON NOTES: The Future's Not Ours To See

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Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The Future's Not Ours To See

As so often happens this posting is inspired by a posting by someone else. In this case L'Archiduchesse again in her posting Confessions in which appears the following intriguing paragraph:
"If somewhat presumptuously, I took the liberty to wonder what would have happened had I not, in a moment I both deeply regret and cherish beyond measure, made a choice last August twenty-fourth and penned a missive that ought not to have been yet had a thousand reasons to be so."
I remembered that when I was at Prep School (US translation: Junior School?) the Headmistress (in the days before Head Teachers) wrote the following in my autograph book:

We cannot foresee what is going to happen.
How then can we plan what we're going to do
Most of us would, I think, act very differently if only tomorrow's screen we could peer through.
But life's vision is short
And we can't see its answer.
And things come our way
Which we're eager to take.
And so we snatch hungrily at its brief pleasures,
And worthwhile and lasting things sadly forsake.

J Twomey Ryebank 1954

I have no idea whether that was original or a quotation and have never bothered to find out. To me it has, for the last 55 years, been a concept ingrained in my consciousness.

I have more recently found it quite strange that I have held this up as the essence of wisdom whilst ever since I was 5 I have thought that Miss Twomey was logically challenged after she stressed in one lesson that pride was one of the seven deadly sins and then in the next told us that we should have pride in our work. When I queried this (which, as a five year old, seemed to me to be completely incomprehensible) I was told off for being insolent (or whatever it was I was supposed to have been).

In the meantime all I can say to L'Archiduchesse is 'You'll just never know!' and if you have achieved happiness, however brief, before 21 you are doing well above average.

(I wonder how many challenges that will provoke).

5 comments:

  1. When I was just a little girl
    I asked my mother, what will I be
    Will I be pretty, will I be rich
    Here's what she said to me.

    Que Sera, Sera,
    Whatever will be, will be
    The future's not ours, to see
    Que Sera, Sera
    What will be, will be.

    When I was young, I fell in love
    I asked my sweetheart what lies ahead
    Will we have rainbows, day after day
    Here's what my sweetheart said.

    Que Sera, Sera,
    Whatever will be, will be
    The future's not ours, to see
    Que Sera, Sera
    What will be, will be.

    Now I have children of my own
    They ask their mother, what will I be
    Will I be handsome, will I be rich
    I tell them tenderly.

    Que Sera, Sera,
    Whatever will be, will be
    The future's not ours, to see
    Que Sera, Sera
    What will be, will be.

    Doris Day

    One of my FAVORITE songs from childhood :)

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  2. Yep. I'll second that, Heather.

    If I had.... But then, if I hadn't... If I'd only known....

    But there we are I din't, I did and I didn't know. And look where it got me...

    Que sera, sera.

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  3. The quote from the Headmistress was quite insightful...
    I do, however, question a five year-old being taught the seven deadly sins...or anything about pride at any level...
    hmmmmmm....must have been some weighty schooling for five year olds!!!
    I read the "Confessions" post.
    "If onlys" are fire-breathing dragons. I've jostled with them far too much.
    ;^-

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  4. You are right Cynthia. It was a very hard regime from that point of view. When we were 6/7 we had to learn an epistle or a collect every week too. I should add that it was not a religiously affilliated school either.

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  5. Whilst allegedly not religiously affiliated it was very Roman Catholic in outlook! It also wasn't averse to using the cane and I can still recall how my hand throbbed from many an unearned caning. (On one occasion I wasn't even on the premises when the misdemeanour took place but that didn't stop the whole class from being caned!) Miss Twomey was never my favourite person!

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