Monday, November 26, 2012

more on stories and seasons.

the hardest part about this season is that i don't have an exciting story to offer.  i have nothing dazzling or impressive, my friends, i am simply leading a simple, if privileged, life as of late.  i am paying my bills.  i am watching reruns while running on the treadmill.  i am making black tea to wake up in the mornings.  i am checking things off the wedding to-do list.  i am trying my best to choose hope when my future seems entirely mysterious and unknown to me.  i am waiting for inspiration often.

i am a devourer of novels and a subscriber of blogs and a watcher of films, and i love a good story line: the classic arc of a challenge that, one way or another, eventually flowers into redemption.  this is compounded by the reality of social media, where we choose to display our prettiest pictures and our wittiest remarks and our most thrilling adventures.  i do it, too.  sometimes it feels like celebrating the gifts of life, choosing to focus on the good and give thanks when life can be hard.  other times, it feels like a cutthroat competition, seeing who is up to the most interesting and beautiful things.  i find my heart sinking in my chest, because how can i compare to her travels, or his career aspirations, or her talent? 

this is the problem, the comparing.  this is the sickness.  this is simply no good.  i would do well to remember that Jesus blessed those who mourn, and called the first last, and turned everything on its head.  it's just very difficult to choose the thing that feels like dying when everything around you says that it is foolishness, weakness, losing.  how can i keep perspective to choose what is really most important?  how can i find quiet joy, steady contentment, living a life of hope and purpose, even if the world calls that unimpressive and plain?  i think i am torn between two ideals, loving the idea of a Spirit-led life, but nervous to take the full leap off the edge and leave behind consumerism and upward mobility and everything else we're taught.  i am afraid of heights.  it's hard to commit fully.  i delight in the things of God, but obviously, not all of me delights.  there are parts that hold back, that rebel.  i hope i will learn to leap.


Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.


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