As a writer, I am in constant search of new material, but more than that, I am in constant search of meaning. I’m curious about why our actions are often in conflict with what we say? I want to know what motivates people, brings us joy (laughter is an odd conundrum), instigates our anger, or causes frustration. I wonder about the inherent dignity of all people, especially those who really f%#&* up. Why do we do what we do? I wish I had access to your thoughts. Not the ones you verbalize, but the ones you keep hidden. You are a complete enigma to me. I watch you closely, I scrutinize your body language, and then I file you somewhere between amazing and potential zoo candidate. Just when I think I nailed it, I find out I’m dead wrong. New files are needed. Hannah Arendt says, “Before we raise such questions as what is happiness, what is justice, what is knowledge, and so on, we must have seen happy and unhappy people, witnessed just and unjust deeds, experienced the desire to know and its fulfillment or frustration.” In other words, we need to pay attention, witness our own lives, and consciously decide for ourselves what makes us happy.
This is why I started a blog, Living in the Gap. I was referring to the gap between past and future (I know this is cliché, heavily popularized in the media, and I say get over it), this is where I try to reside. I might be thinking about the past, projecting my will into the future, but I’m imprisoned by the present. This is the gap I speak of, my bridge, and like Captain Kirk, I run my entire life from this location. I can choose to be loving or neglectful, peaceful or chaotic, cruel or kind. I decide if I want to avoid someone I don’t like, because my experience with them has been unpleasant, or I can choose to model forgiveness, and move on. I think the moon might have something to do with it. I don’t read a lot of Kafka (maybe in the future, haha), but he wrote about this phenomenon with a lot more intellectual evidence then I can muster, and I will spare you the stereotypical comment about like minds, because that is sure to make you laugh.
My mind creates this gap, the past is my informant, but I never actually get anywhere. I think time might be a mental construct. You are a bundle, like AT&T, there is no part of you that does not exist in the present. Sometimes I feel like a hamster, running on the interminable wheel, and I have no idea how to get off. I suppose that is death. “The chain of ‘nows’ rolls on relentlessly, so that the present is understood as precariously binding past and future together: the moment we try to pin it down, it is either a no more or a not yet,” writes Hannah Arendt. This sounds a lot like the Reign of God that Jesus talked about to anyone who had “ears to listen.” This is the space where love reigns, it is here, but not fully realized. It has broken into our spectrum of understanding but it has not infiltrated our entire person or society.
Chris Rock says, “You know, some people say life is short and that you could get hit by a bus at any moment and that you have to live each day like it’s your last. Bullshit. Life is long. You’re probably not gonna get hit by a bus. And you’re gonna have to live with the choices you make for the next fifty years.”
I went to the movies last night with some dear friends. We watched The Letters, a story about Mother Teresa, of Calcutta, who lived to relieve the suffering of the poor. She wrote letters to her spiritual advisor about her deep emptiness, much of her life she felt abandoned by God, but Mother Teresa never wavered in her commitment to be the face of love for others. “Man cannot live without a permanent trust in something indestructible within himself, though both that indestructible something and his own trust in it may remain permanently concealed from him,” writes Kafka. She had both an intellectual and intimate understanding of God (she was married to Jesus) but she felt isolated and alone most of the time. My understanding of God is elementary, based on faith, and garnered in the midst of family life. Let me just say, I would love to be isolated, and alone once in a while. I make decisions based on what will make me happy, whereas, she made decisions based on the well-being of others. Damn. Can’t we find a balance between altruism and narcissism? I know deep suffering comes from failed expectations, but is our joy dependent on things going right, or do we make them right by letting go (and letting God)? This kind of movie can absolutely take me down. It will take me weeks to process all the data. I ordered her book because I like to suffer (if you want to borrow it let me know). Maybe our purpose is to find a way off the wheel, into a life of pure giving, but this would be a leap of faith for me. And once you leap there is no going back to the ledge.
So this is my long winded conclusion. I write my own narrative. I look at the past, spin it, then make my move, and I willingly participate in this codependent relationship. It is like the game Twister, right foot, red circle, but I have to maneuver around all these ‘other’ people playing the game, and we might land on the same circle. I can be gracious, even when you step on my foot, but don’t be hating on me because I have pretty toes. At the risk of being cliché, we build our future with our thoughts, but our actions bring them kicking and screaming into the world. Don’t you wish I had more time to think?
Leave a thought in the comments so I’ll know how to file you.