Thursday, July 05, 2012
It is easy, so easy, to not want to engage life. In fact, it is so easy that we do it all the time without any thought or effort. When life gets tough, or even for no external reason at all, we seem to effortlessly drift down the path of retreat. How so? I'll give you three main ways that I have seen. The first is the path of purposeless preoccupation. Maybe we are obsessed with Facebook or some other useless website or meaningless activity. Maybe we sit and overthink certain situations or relationships, endlessly pining and ruminating away. The second is the path of powerlessness and passivity. This often goes hand-in-hand with purposeless preoccupation. We take a limp, dead, helpless, "I can't do it," position, moping around, laying around pitying and condemning ourselves like we are helpless cripples. The third way is by numbing ourselves through indulgence in temporary pleasures... sex, alcohol, drugs, the "thrill" of the next relationship (that ends in an inevitable collapse), etc. We run the path of the fool, going after the next fun or exciting or sexy thing that makes us feel good for two seconds, running away from ourselves and from life. We're running, endlessly running from life and, mainly, from the pain and anger and other emotions and things inside. But it never gets us anywhere. I'm inspired by how men like Dietrich Bonhoeffer did not run from life. They engaged life, and they found it worth it -worth the fight, worth the pain, worth the suffering, worth the energy, worth the heartache, and worth the apparent pointlessness of it all at times. May I not torture myself by avoiding life, but may I full engage it. May I stop looking for a quick pleasure to numb myself out, a new preoccupation to retreat to, or another opportunity to sulk helplessly as a cripple on my bed of self-abuse.