Thursday, October 20, 2005

All this to say...

I write about things like courage and heroes and greatness and other stuff, and I think I do that, reevaluating everything, because I want to avoid settling for life the way it is. It always bothered me, if only a little, when people in church reminded us to pay attention to the little miracles, as if we're supposed to be amazed at little things that aren't really all that impressive, merely because there isn't anything more impressive. That, of course, is not the way they'd say it, and if I put it to them that way, they'd sputter and argue that that's not what they meant at all. But it always struck me as an excuse, a reason not to get discouraged about not being incredibly amazed. If we change our opinion of what is amazing, then we don't have to feel like we're not seeing something impressive. What if we did that with things like courage? Or morality? Or responsibility? If we think of any little thing we do as courageous, we don't need to worry if we can't think of a great story. If we just focus on the little things we're responsible with, we don't have to worry that our we haven't met our longterm goals. It seems cheap. It seems sad to me.

But I don't want to cheapen the little things either. They add up. But let's call a spade a spade. If I help a homeless guy on the street one random night, it's a good thing. But it's not like I really did much of anything. Without downplaying it in anyway, it was just a little thing. But the sum of our little things become the true great things. A man who lives a life where each moment is significant, lives a life equal to the sum of all those significant moments. Those who let those moments pass who experience only mundane, only existence, with no life, the sum of that life is smaller. It is diminished. Am I contradicting myself then, saying the little things matter after just saying how sad it is that people focus on the little things to avoid discontentment with the grand scheme? Not really. Because what I'm saying is that one little thing isn't going to tip the scales in favor of the greater well-lived life. The whole of life is a pattern made up of the small. All the little things are parts of that pattern, and if they do not fit the pattern of an outstanding amazing life, then neither will the pattern of the whole.

All this is to say that I want life to be amazing. And to me, there should be no excuse for it being anything but. To look at life and say, I am not amazed, is a travesty, an insult to the amazing life that God has created, the freedom that Christ has provided. I want to provide the world with wonder, so that we can be awed by majesty, raptured in beauty, and inspired by greatness. So the question always returns, how can I get it so that I'm not a hypocrite. I refuse to spout my diatribes of excellence and amazement, only to binge on the depressant of mediocrity. I commit my soul to success in this life, and if I do not achieve it, then may my blood run dry and my heart stop it's beating, for it would only be useless noise. To quote a favorite movie of mine, "All men die. Not every man truly lives."

Okay, I think that's enough pontification for one night. Later


Anonymous said...

Good thoughts Jake - MOM

Anna said...

Your mom reads your blog too. :)
One of my favorite quotes is "We do not remember days, we remember moments." I heard Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace prize winner refer to that one time, although he did not come up with it. It's interesting because he is always talking about living for those world changing moments, not days.
I know what you are saying, that we do need to have longterm goals, but it is the little things, truly added up, that I think make the most difference. And that makes a person most happy.
I want life to be amazing too.