Last month’s blog described a story about a realization I had after a wine tasting event. My presumptions of a snobby afternoon were obliterated by the overall message from a fully credentialed sommelier, the event’s speaker. At the end of last month’s blog, I asked myself a question. Is it my responsibility to appreciate things? Should I join the club?
Refuse my membership, please
Groucho Marx famously quipped, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.” What I imagined of a wine pairing class is that I probably would not fit in. I did not breathe rarified air. There was no social standing, pedigree, or position that I could claim or speak toward. I had no exciting stories and frankly, this business about wine pairing seemed like a useless pre-occupation based on matters of opinion and expenditure status. I found out later that my resistance, and in some ways, my prejudice was based on my own fear and feelings of inadequacy.
Do That, Don’t Do That
There are times when the tendency to trivialize prevents participation. It is a defense mechanism, perhaps. Supporting our children to take art classes, then deciding that there are “more important things to do” for when they get older might be a broad example. On a smaller scale, my assertion that the wine pairing class was a “stupid thing” I got dragged into was a way for me to “win the game” before I even started playing.
What is The Real Question?
My question going into the class was, “why am I here”. The question coming out the class was the same. However, the context of my question was different. Going into the class I felt there were more important things to do and think about. Coming out, I found myself feeling that what I learned was pretty darn important, if not essential to my daily life.
Art of living
What I believe I learned has much to do with the so-called art of living. The appreciation of delightful things does not require a lot of money. It has no consideration for economic status. It is good to emphasize, as it was that day, that the true pleasure and edification of cultural experience is based on an almost child-like openness, not on pretense or elitism. To decide seemingly inessential aspects of life are un-important or for a privileged few is a probably a prejudice itself. I certainly exercised that thought on that day.
I left there with the permission to play and be curious. It was okay to “not know” and ask questions about things I did not understand. But it may not be okay shut myself down and say to myself, I do not want to know. How do I (we) enrich my (our) life and share with others? What I may have been asking myself is, would God want me to waddle through my life without noticing or appreciating anything? Would it be well for us to share and offer what we learn or offer what we notice with each other without disqualifying it or ourselves?
With respect to Groucho Marx, that is a club I will join. If it will have me.