Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

on non-virtual living

"The mission of the universalist church has been a double one, first to contravert the one-time prevalent idea of an endless hell. This part of the mission has practically been accomplished. . . But the second and more important one awaits fulfillment . . . a fight which shall continue until the real, actual hells, before our very eyes, are destroyed.” --Henry Clay Ledyard

The news media focuses on yet another bored suburbanite who elected homicide over honestly dealing with a complicated situation. I'll never understand how some people think in such situations.

Talking heads use a broad brush to sweep broad generalizations about bland candidates of every stripe in the coming elections.

I listen to a CD of Smetana, purchased for a dollar at Dollar Tree, and finish the first novel of the 1st Ladies' Detective Agency, which evokes a kind of Botswana of one's dreams so successfully.

I'm a bit hazy this evening, recovering from yet another red-eye flight, after a cool but quick trip to San Franciso on Tuesday. Tomorrow I drive to Fort Worth for business, and then focus on an intricate problem that interests me.

My eBay auction of my car has drawn the first couple of muted, understated bids, although the number of people watching the auction, combined with the way such auctions usually work, suggest that the "real" bidding will not begin until the last moments of the auction.

I'm thinking tonight of the importance of a particular kind of personal integrity.

I think in general that people are pretty frail reeds. They have hopes and wishes and wants and needs and dreams and longings, which reality does not always reward and certainly rarely pampers.

I sometimes find myself more judgmental than I ought to be, when in fact my own extreme and palpable frailties convince me that people are capable of many wrongs and miscues.

Some folks worry a lot about sin, and some folks worry a lot about not using words like "sin". I am not adept at puzzling out my own language of the theology of mistake and error.

I think that the most challenging thing in life can sometimes be finding fulfillment in the actuality rather than in the wish. The old story says that fellow Tantalus forever saw the food and drink he craved, but it was always just out of reach. For those of us who are daydreamers, our reach so far exceeds our grasp.

Some folks I respect say "just grab for your dreams--don't deny yourself the brass rings". I do think there is a virtue in striving. I am a believer in progressing, in doing the things that make the world a bit more livable.

Yet the real challenge in life is not gathering marbles--whether a marble be a thing, a person, or an idea of what would be one's ideal image. The challenge in life is in savoring marbles, and being able to discern which marbles are worth keeping and which not worth the effort.

It's so easy to hunt for the perfect dessert. It's so easy to cast aside, mentally, all that one has worked for in pursuit of something immediate. One could trade almost anything for the right bowl of soup, served at just the right moment. But there is more to life than soup.

I like the idea of kite flying, because one puts the kite into the air, and it is there, hovering, a thing to be viewed and observed and flown. I like filing an appellate brief, because it is a tangible thing. I like the way my work results in wins and losses and settlements and conclusions.

I'm a lover of novels both great and trivial. I'm not knocking imagination or longing. But I think that sometimes one moves beyond fretting over the way in which life is not like the ViewMaster slides, and just lives.

My reading convinces me that despair is one component of many lives, and that, paradoxically, times of comfort and peace sometimes generate as much neurosis and despair as active and difficult times. I suspect that in part it is because there is so much to do, and so little cause to truly stop doing the tasks one defines as the most meaningful. I worry that people denigrate their skills, because they are merely good and not brilliant.

It's so easy to imagine that one is in a world in which one has fewer than the things one needs to make a go of life. For some, this is true. But I wonder how many people live lives like mine, in which there is enough to do and to dream and to be, and yet does not use the opportunities one has to the fullest.

I pass by people on my favorite hiking trail who ride tall horses, reliving a part of a nearly by-gone riding time. But I sometimes long for a brown burro, to walk beside me. The burro is an illusion, too, another daydream. But I mean that I never wish to have a hoist upon onto some dream horse that will liberate me from the trail. I want instead to walk the trail and do the work, and perhaps have a quiet friend join me.

In life, you only get so many dreams that come true. But you can make friends, and you can help out here and there and you can find your contentment in the way that gravel feels under foot.

I don't know the answer to many questions--but I know that
the answers are out there in the real work, and not inside where only daydreams reside. That may be the key, in fact--to see one's quests and goals as work, and not a trivialities. I think that people trivialize their own skills so much, for want of having skills that are the stuff of daydream fodder.

I want to trivialize myself less, until I do not trivialize myself at all. Then I want to just do, and be glad in it.

That will be a respite from my personal hells.

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