The worst thing is when you think you are lacking any ill will toward others, and in fact you are in an incredible mood, but the faces you encounter beg to differ with you. The react to you as if you are scowling at them, and you guess that you must be. The worst thing is when you want to be a friend to others and they aren’t interested in your overtures of friendship.
There are things in this life that sweeten this, though. There is the undying hope, the great hope that comes from hanging on to faith. There is family and nature and art. There are dogs. There are the seasons that finally give you breath and light again when you thought that all of the oxygen or light was evaporating. There is a sense of the friend that is Jesus, a man and a deity who yearns to give his perfect love to those who would walk with him.
The best things are often clumped together in little islands called memories amid the vast oceans of despair and forgetfulness. But sometimes those islands become nothing more than mirages and are not places of refuge.
I am struggling with a question of whether the world is getting worse or my perspective is simply changing as I learn more about the world. I don’t think that everything is worse–clearly, there were plenty of things in the thirties and forties and long before then that were things that brought fear to the heart. People today seem to be less human in their destruction of one another. All of our killing and torture prior to the 20th Century was very human, but so was our love. The digital age seems to have dehumanized us in some way that is even a step beyond how the nuclear age and the age of the automobile, telephone and airplane dehumanized us. We are joyfully submitting to the notion that being a caricature or one-dimensional being is perfectly acceptable. And once someone is publicly shamed, all of the good they did is gone and they are to be forever remembered for the bad that they did. Maybe this will make us better humans in the long run, but right now, the world feels very sinister and out of whack with a man like Donald Trump leading the polls.
I know that much of this is likely the birth pains of a race that is evolving to be ultimately members of one kingdom or another. But, a lot of the aspects of my culture, as it is expressed on television or through major media outlets online, seems to have taken a nosedive straight into an alternate universe.
To be for sure, I’ve felt like I was part of some kind of alternate universe ever since H died and then 9/11 happened and my own life took a tailspin. But, I also thought I could depend upon things going a certain way, if not necessarily a good way. I thought that music would recover and produce more talent, but it seems to produce more shallow individuals each year who just want attention so they can make their millions to get out of music and start their own clothing line or whatever. The trend toward celebrating people simply because they are mouthy and rich seems to be an ever downward one with no upturns in sight. As much as I think a lot of things do cycle in this world, this trend appears to be a contradiction of that rule.
Part of the problem is that I am still too caught up in allowing myself to be affected by whatever is happening around me. I need to snap out of this and begin a real, (virtuous) habit-forming routine. I think about how little I’ve been reading and writing recently, and how much less I’ve been exercising, and I know that I just can’t blame it on the baby. I am letting him be a convenient excuse to avoid doing the things that would take me to a new place of existence–a new way of being–because it is comfortable to stay in this little rut of drinking beer and watching TV through most of the evening and sleeping until A has to go to work.
I can clearly see that in addition to 7 hours of sleep and taking care of L during the day, I have an easy 8 hours worth of time where I could be reading/writing/praying/doing physical exercise. That is more than enough time to finish most of my books, get my thoughts together, pray for others and get back in excellent shape. And this is for weekdays when L’s grandparents don’t visit. I clearly have more time than this on the weekend–and I could also be getting the house and my stuff in better order.
It’s not that I’ve grown completely lazy and content–I think that’s part of the problem. When I land in a state of utter laziness or gluttony, I can see quickly just how much I need to change. The problem is that I’ve gotten into a comfortable groove where I am not consuming enough to worry about causing us to fall deeply into debt, and I’m performing a minimal set of duties and obligations as a father and husband so that I am not perceived as being a deadbeat freeloader around the house. Nevertheless, there is still plenty to be done even in the arena of practical things, but also I am sorely lacking at performing very many activities that will ever see me become a significantly better man than the one that I currently am.