izhilzha (izhilzha) wrote,

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Life is just too short

Warning: this is going to be me (hopefully not at length) asking possibly rhetorical questions about life and purpose and excellence.

Unless you're interested in such topics, pay no heed. :-)

When I was a kid, and a young teen, I used to bemoan the fact that an average human lifespan is so, so short. What's seventy years--even a hundred--in a world so full of knowledge, of art, of people, of places to go and things to see and things to do and make and be?

Everyone has to face this at some point, consciously or unconsciously making choices that narrow down their lives to something manageable or comfortable. There are a few adventurers who try to at least taste everything, but even they know that those tastes are fleeting, and that by choosing only the tastes, they forfeit knowing anything more deeply.

My ideal would be to live long enough to know many things deeply. That's still a huge part of my conceptions of heaven: enough comprehension and time and imagination and access to various ways of looking at the universe that we can plumb its depths without unsolvable barriers to our understanding.

I've narrowed my own life—down to writing stories, down to taking great care to treat others with love, down to putting God ahead of anything else, at the center of all.

The horrible thing is when I feel that as narrow as I have managed to make my life, it's still not narrow enough to produce anything worthwhile. Good friendship and family relationships? Sure, though maybe not as good as they could be--I'm still too independent. Good relationship with God? Yes, and growing, but no saint, not yet. Not close enough. Good at writing stories. Yes. I know I write well, and it gives me the most amazing pleasure; when I write, I am myself, worries and distractions take a backseat, and I know I am doing something I was born for.

But I have nothing special, nothing (yet) that I do really excellently well. Mystery stories, I love those, but I'm no Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers or JK Rowling or even Cheyrl Heuton & Nick Falacci (creators/writers of Numb3rs). Making all the pieces fit neatly together is much tougher than they make it look.

I pretty much gave up writing fantasy after high school, when I realized how derivative my ideas were, and that derivative stuff actually gets published. (Yes, Terry Brooks, I’m looking at you.) Lately I've wondered if I should pick up this genre again in about ten years.

Sci-fi is even worse than mystery writing, really—it requires a hefty level of ingenuity and attention to detail, especially since the sci-fi I most admire is moderately "hard" (think Neal Stephenson or, more weirdly, Samuel R. Delaney). And like historical fiction, I haven't yet figured out how to handle the massive research writing this stuff would require. Not in my lifetime, anyway.

I thought about remaining in academia after my undergrad, but I knew I couldn't do good enough research in my field (English Lit.) to make that life worth my while, or anybody else's. Anyway, I like writing the stories better.

I have a job and I work, but it’s boring and menial and that means I don't always work as hard at it as I should.

I am involved at ministries within my church, which is awesome in some ways. But I'm not a leader, or not good at it yet—that prayer team I started has yet to take off, and I'm not doing such a good job of prodding it along. Or at least it doesn’t seem so.

Maybe I'm just slothful—but then I think about that, and I know it’s not (generally) true. It's not that I've been lazy, it's just that there's no "safe" way to narrow down your life. No way to reach a point where you are assured of making a difference, at least (per Daniel in "Meridian") not in a way you can see, not in the way you hoped for.

I've never wanted anything more than something to throw my whole life into, all my energy, all my talent, everything that I am, with abandon.

In this fallen world, there is nothing like that. Or at least, I am too cautious to find one that fits me. Jack of a few trades, master of none; a scholar forced to wander.

Then again, our Lord took fives small loaves of bread and two fish, and fed five thousand plus. I may wish I were huge and bright and beautiful--but maybe for now it's enough to be small and wholesome and in His hands.

I’ll stop with the depressive stuff now. Heh. I think I have a new fandom; Dr. Who people, watch this space!
Tags: contemplative, godstuff, time, work

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