December 8th, 2009
No sense thinking on it too much. It is here. It is what it is, and the only way to move ahead is to move ahead. There’s no time for reflection or deep thought because the things on the surface can kill much quicker than anything lurking beneath. Those things hidden and buried—those things simmering below the surface—they are the eventual killers. And while the surface is just as likely to kill you as the deep, the surface is a bigger threat. It is the part of life that wears you down, beats you up, but it is also the place where most of the good takes place. The difficultly comes in any attempt to recognize the good. More often than not, it comes unexpectedly, without warning, and if you are moving about the surface looking for good, it is likely you’ll be disappointed. That it will not be found. Your best bet is to spend 36 years of your life fighting for balance until you realize there will never be balance in the way you’d always believed. Never will life be balanced in your favor, and unless you medicate yourself with wine or God or cause, you’ll never find peace. There is joy. Daily happiness. In the embrace of your wife. In the smile and laughter of your children. In the purring of the cat. The wagging of the dog’s tail. But there will never be that deep, thorough joy that comes with having things your way.
And there is a reason for this. You are not a child. You’re a grown man and a grown man who is doing things right does not experience a life of pleasure and reward. A grown man who is doing right experiences joy in simple short fits, like bursts of shapeless color in dream, or finding a sandy bottom in a cold, rocky lake. Your aim is your wife and your kids. Your aim is to earn a living. Make enough money so ends nearly meet. And your aim is to be truthful and dedicated and faithful and loving. And none of it is easy.
You’ll encounter people who have advice. You’ll encounter people who claim they know. But there is—and there will never be—anyone that will know yourself, know your path, know your wants, needs, and desires better than you. While it is courteous to listen and understand and gather as much knowledge from others as you can, it’s important to remember that nobody knows everything and everything is not something that can be known. There are experts and counselors. Mentors and guides. But the biggest favor a man can do for himself is to stay focused and steady and work through as much of life as he can on his own while taking care of those he loves.
And so, eight days into December, I’m coming to grips with the stark reality that my life has taken a turn. I’ll not reach the heights I had imagined. I’ll not have the time I had believed I would have. But at the same time, I have an opportunity to go within. Grasp a firm hold onto the surface and lower myself, little by little, into the deep. To the place where things are hidden and buried. Like bursts of shapeless color in dream. And a warm sandy bottom under my feet.