Because a life unexamined is lived without intention.
Monday, November 5, 2012
The Crucial Ingredient
Hmmmm, so just a few days past I gave notice to my preconceived absence, a month working on a novel anticipated to take up much of my free time. (wait, is there such a thing?) Yet then, there occurs the unexpected....the conversations which fuel the thoughts which lead me here.
A phone call. Someone close to me, separated from her spouse, fighting her way through a new world of two jobs and daycare and lonely single parenthood. Long talks in the past of ifs and maybes and might-have-beens....but now there is only...now. And she mentions that she recently asked him, "Why?" Perhaps the most important question--while somehow being simultaneously the most insignificant as it applies to life now because no matter WHY, we are indeed now...here. We clutch at the why to justify and explain and soothe the now that is here....when really the why is often a Ferris wheel of rationalizations that leave us blinking in the glare of fairy lights, unsure where the beginning or the end might be.
The why can be lethal. It can eat at you, endlessly gnawing at the edges of the reasons you once told yourself. The reasons that made sense. In this cake we are all baking--the life we are writing as we open our mouths and pen the words that sketch the picture within that we live...the ingredients matter.
Time. Dear God, the author of such, time is the blood of life. Giving time, taking time, putting aside time. The vampire that is the twenty-first century is poised, clutching the edge of your tattered calendar, fangs sharp and at the ready. Beware lest he wrench that which you love away.
Thought. Oh yes, acknowledge the power of the mind, for it stands between you and the emptiness that awaits just over there...just past uncaring and self-centeredness. Somewhere beyond "I didn't know" and before "I don't care" lies a terrible black swamp of "I forgot." O ye who have no ears...
And the most crucial of ingredients...
Ah, time and thought are excellent beginnings, the magnificent starters of the race. Look, their legs so long, their muscles strong....but do you know who wins the final lap?
Effort. The sweaty companion that doesn't sit down, doesn't rest. Effort is the one who takes the thought and makes the time. He pushes past "I'm tired" and "what now" and thrusts himself to the finish line of "it matters."
"He didn't really want to be married...it was too much work."
I shudder at the world I see being built around us. Where the tower of a lasting relationship is replaced by the motel 6 of convenience. Where it seems many would rather pitch a tent....than get dirty, scrape some knuckles, and lay the stones of a foundation.
It's not just her or him--this story has been written in the marrow of husbands and wives and children. It is not a matter of gender or age, but within the skin of us. I ask you today to just pause amidst the pulse of your life, the rhythm you've become accustomed to. Assess your time, your thought, and your effort.