“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.