I haven’t had a lot to write about lately. My life has been active on the outside, but not on the inside. It’s the kind of activity that isn’t interesting to other people. It is the stress and bustle of being middle-aged and starting my first real managerial job, and having my firstborn go into daycare as an infant. I have enough stamina left to raise him, I think, and be useful in the workforce for a couple of decades, maybe three.
My inner life has suffered because of this, but I’m not sure it’s been a complete wash. How many years have I read about what it means to be holy and reverent, but I’ve never completely gotten rid of my vices and bad habits? Being busy does seem to block out the devil, even if I know that the old nasty thoughts are waiting to grab me early in the morning and late at night when I’m on the edge of sleep.
One thing I haven’t really thought much about is how much I’ve been blessed.
It feels kind of hokey to think about it, and I have to get into the right state of mind to be sincere about it, but I’ve been blessed.
I have had good health, and so has my wife and baby son–and so have the animals. I have been blessed to get a good-paying job at the right time when I need it the most. God has kept me from lashing out too much in anger at the world when I think the world is slighting me, and God has allowed me to find private moments to read and rest and recharge. My in-laws have come almost every week to visit the baby and help take care of him during at least part of the day.
My father is in good health, even though he’s now 75.
My wife and I have had the opportunity to travel together to Mexico, Rome, San Francisco, Charleston and Galveston during the almost three-year period between marriage and the baby.
I am living in a time period of relative prosperity, and I’ve never had to really worry much about not being able to find employment once I developed my web design skills. Even during the past two economic recessions, I was mostly buffered from the worst of it by living in Austin, which didn’t seem to be nearly as affected as other parts of the country.
I live in a part of the country that is free of hurricanes, earthquakes and the really bad tornadoes. Now that I’ve moved a bit north of Austin, I’ve gotten away from some of the really bad droughts, floods and wildfires that seemed to plague the Austin and the surrounding areas.
I have lashed out in fury and anger many times at my neighbors for being slow, dull, un-cultured and conservative. But, they are mostly peaceful people who only show their aggressive side when they are driving their oversize pickup trucks behind your little Japanese coupe or SUV.
I have survived some of the worst parts of my young adulthood, coming out of it unscathed with no more than a few emotional scars that only made me stronger. I certainly wish my brothers and my mother were still here today to enjoy life with me, and I wish I was closer to my dad and my remaining brother, but it never seems to go anywhere when I make the effort to call them a lot.
I came out of my young adulthood without any venereal diseases or illegitimate children, without any major addictions or criminal records. I don’t have any tattoos, and I’ve never been fired. Other than the time I took at the end of last summer, I’ve always worked full-time.
But, I guess you could also say that there was plenty of near-misses. I almost went bankrupt. I almost died more than a few times from an overdose. I almost ended up married to women that might have turned me into a monster. I almost went south, but I held on by a thread.
Maybe you could argue that I took the worst possible path. I always took myself to the edge of trouble without throwing myself completely off the cliff. I wasn’t looking for the same thing that the other people I hung around were looking for. Or, if it was the same thing, none of us knew it.
I was looking for spiritual fulfillment in places where most of the people had completely given up on the notion of a soul or spirit altogether.