As I consider the events that I have been witness to during the last few years, it dawns on me that I suffer from a stubborn determinism of sorts. Though I have all kinds of evidence before my eyes that my life has been a constant moving toward someone, I find myself working very hard at trying to avoid the very someone whom I most need in order to be able to live.
As I type on my laptop, I sit at my work table in my home “office.” My law degree came via messenger a couple of weeks ago and has been sitting there, inanimate, since its arrival. I looked at it and felt a sense of accomplishment for about 27 seconds the day that it arrived. And now the most I can muster when I look at it, is a mild (if not, sardonic) shrug. Of course, waiting to find out if I passed the Bar exam is not helping matters. Why is this the case? Why so much emphasis on what I have done or accomplished? The truth is that nothing that I do or accomplish will ever satisfy my deepest needs nor make me fully human (not to mention, happy).
I have spent the last decade or so of my life travelling to (and living in) many so-called “exotic” parts of the world. I recall thinking one evening several years ago, as I was walking around the Old City in Jerusalem (one of the many places that I have “escaped to” so that I could busy myself and avoid these questions): I am just as dissatisfied here as I am anywhere in the world. What will fill this need? And then I remembered that Christianity asks that question using “who” and not “what.” I certainly don’t think this a minor point—in fact, I’d say it is “the” point. At least this has been my experience over the years and even right now. So thank goodness for this want.
I sit at my work table, pausing between words and phrases and look up at my window, where my blinds are presently closed. It occurs to me that I should get up and open them so that I can look outside. But I prefer to sit here and type and stare at my words hoping that somehow meaning will miraculously emerge from these, my words, and I will arrive at some “eureka” moment that will change everything. And yet, the moment never does arrive…why is that? Nothing changes because, like my window blinds, I am not open.
For some, this existential angst is tiresome (not to mention just plain boring). But I would be less than honest if I did not admit that for me everything (and I do mean everything) rides on not letting go of this desire for more. But I must learn to distinguish the content and substance of this more from the mere thoughts in my head uselessly striving for that self-serving nirvana that will never arrive (and thank goodness for that) if left to my own devices.
Who I am looking for is outside myself and longs to be embraced. But recognizing this fact is not enough. And that’s when all I have left to say is “have mercy” on me and begin (again).