Sunday, April 7, 2013

The good life.

I'm at a point in my life that I haven't been for many years, the crossroads.
I'm 23 years old. And I've spent most of my life either reacting to things or enduring things.
This means that most of my big choices in life have been internal, in the life of the mind. My choices in life in terms of my future were either pretty much assumed by myself and everyone I know, or they were taken without much prior knowledge.
The only time I ever made a significant choice to do something outside of this pattern, was when I decided to stay at the parochial middle school I attended instead of going to a good non-religious, private school.

But like I said, I've reached the crossroads. I've spent the last ten years knowing essentially what I was going to do. I'd go to Andrews University (Parochial college), get my bachelor degree in 4 years, work for the Seventh Day Adventist church in some form or capacity, get my Masters and Ph.D from Andrews and work for the church until I died.This life would be filled with fulfillment, but also lots of stress and heartache. I would give myself completely to my work, whatever it might be, and wait for the Second Coming or the Resurrection from the dead for some semblance of happiness or joy beyond job satisfaction.

But those two dynamics I mentioned, that for most of my life has seemed to fate me for the existence cited above, have conspired to place me at this crossroads. And I'll have to choose soon.

Over time, my experience with life and faith have changed my framework, the basic worldview by which right and wrong, good and evil, Truth and lies, Righteousness and Unrighteousness are defined. The old worldview shares a lot in common with the new one, but the vision of present and future is much more cloudy, much more ambiguous than it had been. And the foundation on which this is all built, the morality and ethics that is reinforced by and also reinforcing this framework, is now perhaps more rigid, more unyielding, much sharper, clearer  than it has ever been before.

I'm starting to daydream of happiness. And pleasure. I'm starting to look at real people living real lives in this world, and imagining that I can have one. Live one.
Not the kind o f normal life that my parent s dreamed of. There's is a normal life of being respected by the right people in the right circles. Making enough money to live a comfortable life in a comfortable home, and paying the bills on time. Being extraordinarily normal, in a way that only those who have come from a strong cultural or sectarian religious background can understand. I never wanted, or wished for that kind of life.

But after spending so many years steeling myself ti a future if sacrifice and pain, to living a life in which this world is all and only Maya, or Matrix. A future of perpetual war of one type or another.
After all of this, I'm starting to dream of a life of existential happiness. Sitting down and talking or playing with good friends. Hiking through the countryside. Building a future here in this world that lasts.
Of course as soon as I write these things, the perpetual darkness that is my normal state of mind returns. The knowledge that perpetual war against selfishness, greed, hatred and cold, unsympathetic, indifferent hearts is here to stay.

But I dream of happiness in its midst.

And so, I'm at t he crossroads contemplating jumping into an unknown future,  hurling myself through the air like a trapeze artist, blindfolded and without a net.

I'm scared.

I'm excited.

I'm hopeful.

I'm determined.

I pray to god, that whatever my decision is, the place where I go is filled with the right kind of people who can help me to grow and learn and achieve and become more, and think deeper. Who can teach me how to love and smile and relax and enjoy better. To show me how to live a life for a God who loves people, and justice, and truth, and change.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Paul Laurence Dunbar:The Mask.

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,--
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
          We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
          We wear the mask!