There'll be no more runnin' around for me
No more backing down, you'll see
What ever lies in store, I'll get through it.
- G. Hansard, "Grace Beneath the Pines"
* * *
The answer to all questions lies in the experience of living out one's life. It is only the expenditure of time that reveals the truths you've been living by. The crisis occurs at the moment you recognize how you've spent your time, towards what ends (if any), by what light you have offered up the irreplaceable hours of your life.
Horror. Denial. Despair. Joy. Satisfaction. Regret. Acceptance. Indifference. It all depends on what you find as the hours thin out.
Our finiteness should make us kind, forgiving, tolerant. Instead we are often fearful, cruel and indifferent to others coursing through the very trials that haunt us. It is a trick we play on ourselves: we be center, polestar, the source of oceans and all others be sodden, hardscrabble, unworthies. We fall for this trick because we doubt our capacity to take in the world's suffering, the world's longing, the world's hunger. We can barely manage our own. We imagine our reach extends as far as our arms and those we embrace. The other, the stranger, the notoneofus is immaterial at best, hated as a matter of course.
How can it be otherwise?
It depends on what you find as the hours thin out.
* * *
A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for, Mr. Browning asks.
I answer, a man's reach is the sum of his kindness, generosity and lion-hearted openness.
If this be so, and it is so, then no wonder some can't reach the salt on the table.
* * *
The faiths we conjure to inform our decisions, the religions we abandon, the gods we worship and loathe, the riddles presented to us as the scavenger hunt we are on for the length of our lives are always and in all places only capable of being answered by you and you alone, for you are the one experiencing the life in your hands. Your life may be fated with unearned luck and good fortune. It may a hazard of losses. In either case it is yours to suss out. How will you answer for it? Self-destruction, self-denial, selfishness, selflessness: it is solely yours to decide my friend. And if your circumstances are unjust, harrowing in its ignorance, proscribed by the viciousness of tradition and cultural norms, you are still free to choose how you will respond. The mistake we make is to assume that happiness, ease, justice and equity are our due. Nothing is further from the truth. We live amongst sleepwalkers and zombies of the spirit (some in clerics robes, some in three piece suits, some who look just like our parents) whose fear and hatred is everready to blot out the sky. Do not be a bullshit pollyanna cantor of weak aphorisms. Better to choose for yourself and live by those choices and see what comes of it.
And you can only choose when you take the time to take the temperature of your life, to see the road you've come and set for the road ahead. I am oldish. It is part of things now, but there's no need to wait for balding middle age. Right now is perfect.
Now go. You got shit to do.
* * *
My brothers, my sisters, I thought this passage was complete. And it was, it was, it was. But I found myself always looking about as if I'd lost my keys. Something was missing. This morning I realized it was this, it was you.
And so, I'll begin again.
The rhumboogie of it all is this: plow your field with your full attention, with the fullness of your name. Done in this manner, what you harvest feeds others beside yourself, or what's a heaven for?
* * *