Friday, April 11, 2014

Did I Botch It? Contemplating Experiences (with Rhythms)

As I sit here, caught in the thoughtful daydream that remains ever-present in the back of my mind, I wander into my subconscious and beg the question to the gentleman seated at the desk in my mind-study: did I botch my life already?

The man glances up, then returns to his writing, but does ask me back, "What do you think?" He dips his quill into an ink-bottle, and the scritch-scratch of letters continues.

Me: "Well, you are me, so what do you say?" I flop myself down into the large chair opposite the Second-Empire desk and dejectedly scan the volumes of the surrounding bookcases. Every book an experience and the lessons gleaned from it.

He doesn't look up. "I am merely a figment of your subconscious, a small part of you developed to manage your mind. See here, I don't really have time to go too deep into the realm of the metaphysical today, so stop beating about the bush and just spit it out: what's on your mind?"

I look at him and look away. "I feel like I have wasted a good portion of my life."

He finishes his record-sheet, puts it in a drawer, and draws out his pipe. "How so?"

"Mind you, it could just be my insecurities, but I can't help but feel like I'm going nowhere and have gone nowhere."

He puffs on his pipe a little. "Nonsense." He gets up and spins the large globe next to his desk. "You've had experiences some people would kill for, and no I'm not exaggerating too much when I say that." He looks me dead in the eye. "What's this about?"

I sink further in the chair, 'cause I know he's right. "Well...I just don't know where I am going, and that bothers me."

A small smile of sympathy crosses his face and he puffs on his pipe some more. "That's nothing unusual, old boy. I'd say that's pretty par for the course for everyone."

"Yes, it is," I say, "but I'm not just anyone. I need a plan, I NEED to know where it is I'm going. I feel like the wonder of the world, the so many varied experiences of life are passing me by because I'm too cowardly to seize it."

"Enough of that coward talk. You aren't and shant be, if I and the Good Lord have anything to say about it." He leans against the desk and we both settle into a brooding silence.

At length, he responds: "I certainly understand how you feel. I've been there every step of the way, so I understand better than anyone, save One. You want to be important, you want to be remembered, you want to leave a legacy for others to remember you by. You want to be a moral man, an upright man, and you are correctly prudent with your life." At this the small smile returns. "But you are a man, and men are made for action. You long to break the chains of modernity and go and experience the world. And I can't blame you." He looks at the globe again. "The world is a big place, and there is so much to see and do in it."

I look at him and say "I'm sensing a 'but..' somewhere..."

"The 'but' is this: you are young, and indeed your life has barely begun. You stand on the cusp of adult independence, which is a mighty precipice to be sure, but every man, every woman, comes to it at one point or another in their life. Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for everything, and just so: your time will come yet, my boy, as will the adventures. Others have said that Fate and God have big plans for you, and of that I am sure. But you must be patient, and in the meantime not lose your sense of self, your sense of who you want to be, of who you are meant to be." He leans forward and puts a hand on my shoulder. "Until that day when Fate calls upon thee, seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God. By what choices you make each day, you will be a good man...or not."

He returns to his chair and pulls out his quill and a clean sheet of paper. "Now off with you! You keep adding new articles to this collection and I can barely keep up! I've got much work to do and not enough time to do it."

I get up to go, but he does add "...though I should say do come by more often. You and I share an affinity for good scotch, and as Chesterton says about burgundy and beer, though we shouldn't have too much of it, we should thank God for them with a proper appreciation."

I smile as I open the door and respond. "Will do. Ступай с Богом."


(This article best read while listening to