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It is sometimes as simple as this: I want to travel about with a man that I love and have adventures. I want to laugh often, write some, and drink coffee in cafes with interesting people of all shapes and colors.
It is sometimes as complicated as this: I want to lead a meaningful life reflective of the unrelenting love of my God. I want a life that impacts culture for the better, a life that somehow shakes others out of their apathy, a life that challenges the easily accepted – a life of sacrifice and service. (Yea, that Mother Teresa, MLK, Ghandi kinda life)
Some days I want to live a life of leisure, other days I want a life of legacy. Intuitively I know they don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Deep down inside I know that God knows my desires better than I, that a life of service can be a life of passionate adventure. But logically my brain has trouble charting the course. Then, just as I start to see a possible path, other voices chime in, voices of obligation and duty:
Who will take care of your mother?
The cost of your education could have fed a small village – you better use it.
As a Native Hawaiian it’s your responsibility to return home and perpetuate your culture.
Don’t you want to be financially responsible for your possible future family?
Two words: Savings Account.
And of course there are days when I think it’s unreasonable to assume I can even untangle my purpose this side of heaven. How arrogant to think I can give meaning to anything. I don’t make the sun shine, the rain fall, the world spin. I am completely inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.
But something in me persists, a longing that refuses to be diminished by apathy or unknowing. Maybe that’s a personal quirk; I’ve always been looking for something bigger than me. When I was a kid I was convinced alternate realities were real. I felt that one day I would shove aside some clothes on a rack, open a door, or turn a corner into a different world in which magic was real and heroics were commonplace. I felt that I was made for great and unusual things.
Maybe that’s what you get when you wrap a soul with skin – a comical mix of grandeur and dirt. A constant yearning for what always feels just a little too big, just a little too out of reach.
As 2014 rolls in, I find myself in a rather reflective space. Hah, who am I kidding, I’m always in a reflective space. *cough* only-child-introvert *cough* But yea. We love to talk about resolutions, new beginnings, how things are going to be different. For the last twenty five years I’ve constantly hoped that the new year would bring new revelation, that I would finally discover what my grand purpose is. This year I’m not as optimistic.
I’m not turning into a cynic. My inner child will not be put to bed. I still believe in purpose, significance, heroism. I believe my God has some form and pattern for this wandering life, but I’m starting to think that pattern might be too big for my comprehension. And if that’s the way of it, then a higher degree of surrender is required or I will drive myself mad.
Maybe that’s the best way. To surrender all hope of knowing. To just go one day at a time – sails down, anchor up, subject to the wind. To always travel in the general direction of loving God and loving others, but knowing full well that the physical manifestation of that love will be ever-changing. It could be as grand as negotiating peace between Nations, it could be as plain as reading your kids a bedtime story. I don’t think one is greater than the other from eternity’s perspective. Love is love.
And as experience has taught me, life can turn upside down in the fraction of a second. Everything familiar made strange, the rug ripped out from under, all your plans in chaotic ruin. Your health can fail. Bankruptcy. Your dad could die. Your spouse could leave. Life is unpredictable. Security is nothing but illusion, and we, silly creatures, think we can rule time with our plans.
Of course, plans aren’t bad. It’s wise to set the course… just, in pencil perhaps. Tension. Always living in flippin tension.
Well – if it really doesn’t matter – if love is love and all that nice sounding gobbledygook I wrote above stands true, I suppose I would travel with a man I loved, serve God wherever we went, and write. Is that having your cake and eating it too?
Then again, what’s the point of having cake at all if you’re not going to eat a slice of that sucker?