“It is when we try to grapple with another man’s intimate need that we perceive how incomprehensible, wavering and misty are the beings that share with us the sight of the stars and the warmth of the sun. It is as if loneliness were a hard and absolute condition of existence; the envelope of flesh and blood on which our eyes are fixed melts before the outstretched hand, and there remains only the capricious, unconsolable and elusive spirit that no eye can follow, no hand can grasp.”
― Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim
I feel a bit like Lord Jim today. As I write the sentence I think to myself. I feel like Lord Jim on most days.
Sometimes it is the young Lord Jim. Ready to face the world of adventure. Ready to go out and live the life he has been reading about for years. There is so much life to live inside of me on these days. And these moments feel like the start of something great. It is out there for me to go and get.
Then there are the days I feel like Lord Jim on the run. Life has been rough. I’ve made mistakes. The adventure didn’t measure up and neither did I. I wasn’t the grand hero. I wasn’t the dashing knight. Only a scared little boy, who ran from my own shadow. When the time came for greatness I ran from it. And I run still from this great choice in my past. But I can’t run away.
And then there is the times I feel like Lord Jim at the end. I have found something I believe in. A thing I believe is worth holding on to in this world. I could die for it. But more importantly I live for it every day. I put everything I am into it because I can’t run anymore. And I will never find a home like these moments.
On the hardest days I feel like Lord Jim on his last day. I’ve made a grave error. A sin which much be atoned. I will die for what I have done. Or at least suffer the loss of all I have made. I know the mistake is real. And the sin is mine to own. And the death will be just.
And which Lord Jim do I feel like today. The tired one who can’t seem to stop running. The past trails along behind like a string. I run and I run and I run away. And unlike Lord Jim I don’t even know what I am running from. There is always another port, another life, another story. The next one is always so tempting. The next one is always so tempting. The winds feel like traveling weather today. If I could find a ship going out to sea I might sail away. But, the moment isn’t an escape.
Preconceived notions are the locks on the door to wisdom. Mary Browne
“If I didn’t think, I’d be much happier; if I didn’t have any sex organs, I wouldn’t waver on the brink of nervous emotion and tears all the time. ”
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
“The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
So, thinking about recent events it is clear to me America has a problem.
What isn’t clear to me is the nature of the problem being what many think. I don’t believe America’s problem is racism: though there is an racist element. I don’t believe it is sexism: though again there is a sexist element. At the root of all our problems is a single issue. An addiction almost.
America has a problem with violence. It seems to be the first and easiest form of expression for too many people. The first and easiest solution to most conflicts. And yes for many an addiction.
Americans take in a massive amount of violence by choice. This comes in the choice of violent movies and video games.If we want to move beyond the crisis of the present we need to think about critical choices we make. I’m not suggesting government action: I’m suggesting a change of cultural heart and priority. If we fill our hearts and minds with violence, fear, hatred and destruction. Our hearts, minds and souls will be filled with chaos, violence and fear. This can only result in violent and destructive choices.
If we want to move out of the darkness, we need love. It is one thing to sit back and say “I choose love.” But the daily choices we make are the foundation. We need to fill our minds with energies of love. Fill our hearts with energy of love. If we cannot bring peace to our own souls. We cannot bring peace to our world. If we want to bring peace to our souls. We need to dwell in peace.
Think about the choices you make every moment. While you drive in traffic. While you wait in line at the store. While you are alone with yourself. Are you making choices of love? Making choices which promote peace? Or are you making violent negative choices. Are you creating emotionally positive or negative energy?
Remember only love is real. If you are focused on anything else you are thinking about a lie. And only the truth can set you free.