Sorry it's been so long...and I started off this month with such gusto, but alas, it couldn't last. I know all six of you (that's right, I think we added a couple) are disappointed. It's just that...
I'm just so very tired.
My life is busy, my heart is heavy, the future is uncertain, and the words just don't come anymore. I could make a thousand excuses about school, about work, about the responsibilities of parenthood, and they would be good excuses. Strong excuses. Excuses that would have you nodding your head and wrinkling your face in one of those sympathetic pouty-frowny smiles with your eyebrows raised in pity.
There are so many things that scare me, piss me off, depress me, sadden me, etc, and sometimes they just seem to pile on. But let's be honest here.
Let's get some perspective.
My excuses are pretty pathetic. My life is pretty cushy. I'm a 30 year old, middle class, straight, white, Christian guy who lives in the suburbs. I don't know pain. I don't know oppression. I've never come up against the kind of institutional injustices that others have. I don't know what it's like to have the deck stacked against me because of the color of my skin, or my economic status, me sexual identity or my ethnicity. In all honesty, I've got things pretty easy.
So I feel like I've got some perspective, why's it stil so hard to move forward? This is the question that has troubled me for the last few months, and I think I've finally figured out the answer:
I've been selfish.
And not the innocent "I need some time for me" type of selfish, but the ugly "everything I do, even the stuff for other people, is really all about me" kind. In moving away from the fundamentalism of my youth (toward what, exactly, I'm still not sure at all), I've lost the one motivation that good little Christian boys and girls have for doing anything good: escapism. Anyone who grew up in a church like mine knows what I'm talking about.
"Storing up treasures in heaven"
"Building your mansion"
These are our motivations for doing good things. Not simply the fact that they are right, that other people are valuable, that doing good is what matters, but rather that doing good things results in a something good coming back around to us.
One might say we stole a page from the karmic playbook with that one.
But it's not good enough for me anymore. It strikes me as a cruel kind of utilitarianism that uses people as nothing more than temporary means to an eternal end. I have to do better than that. So I will. I have no idea at this point what that even means and no idea how I'l go about doing better, but I will.
I'll start here by acknowledging one fundamental truth. Don't worry, I don't need 16. Hat tip to all my A/G peeps. :)
Regardless of whether or not what I do for people results in my "getting something out of it," people actually, objectively, fundamentally, and absolutely matter.
What do you think, 6 loyal readers? Is there anything wrong with doing things because we get something out of it in the long run? Is actual altruism even realistically possible? Are people more than what we can get out of them? Talk at me.