Saturday, June 12, 2010

It's Knot What You Know

The other day on Facebook, I posed the following: Finish this sentence. I never thought I could...
I received lots of interesting responses - some funny, but most of them heartfelt and simple. The simplicity is what struck me, considering that I have friends from all walks of life. We all just want to be allowed to be.

Anyway, I thought I would share them here. I never thought I could...

... get a call back from an employer to go interview.

... face the thing that always scared me the most and come to realize that it wasn't as scary as I thought.

... undo the Gordian Knot.

... be so strong, yet be so weak, be so tough yet be so scared, be so serious yet be so silly.. I never thought I could amount to much, but with friends like you, I feel like a winner.

... stab somebody in the ass and get away with it.........AWESOME!!!!!

... live the life I'm living now.

... find someone that could touch my soul and make me happy.

... have friends that really do care.

... enjoy being a grandma so much!

... go to Europe for 6 weeks!!

... get sober... I was wrong.

... switch to a digital camera and LOVE it.

... be a fabulous single mom!

... meet a man as awesome as my husband!

... quit smoking

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The Gordian Knot comment impressed me, although, considering the source, I can't say that I'm terribly surprised. The Gordian Knot is a metaphor for an intractable problem that is solved by a bold stroke. According to ancient Greek legend, Phrygia was without a ruler. An oracle informed the populace that their future king would come into town riding in a wagon. A peasant, by the name of Gordius, and his wife arrived in the town square of Phrygia in an ox cart. Upon seeing Gordius and his wagon, the people made him king. In gratitude, Gordius dedicated his ox cart to Zeus, tying it up with a highly intricate knot, hence the Gordian Knot. Another oracle (oracles are plentiful in Greek mythology) foretold that the person who untied the knot would rule all of Asia.

The problem of untying the Gordian Knot defied all attemps until the year 333 B.C., when Alexander the Great, not known for his lack of motivation when it came to taking over Asia, hacked through it with a sword. "Swindling Bastard!" you might holler (though you'd have been unwise to have pointed it out in Alexander's presence). His method did seem to go against the spirit of the problem. Surely, the challenge was to solve the puzzle solely by manipulating the knot, not by cutting it. Either way, in one fell swoop, the issue of the Gordian Knot was no longer.

Sometimes we struggle so hard to do things "the right way" that we fail to see the easy resolution to the problem, thereby keeping ourselves from achieving the "impossible". We keep ourselves from saying deferentially, "I never thought I could..." What is your Gordian Knot? What is keeping you from simply slashing through it?

It's not what you know. It's how well you can figure it out.
~Elizabeth Klass, finalist in the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee

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