Some say that we are like timid footmen, stepping from the carriage of ourselves, stretching forth our arm with a flickering lantern in hand, into the yawning dusk of the world.
We take a half-step, straining our eyes through the filmy void of each new day, trying to discern the outline of triangles and symmetry and other things, which are mostly whispers and words and silence. As if in a breathing sea, these things bob and sway about, and we size them up in our small goggled eyes as they float past: work, friendships, problems, misunderstandings, commitments, new opportunities. We rate them in order of importance, whether they are relevant, or secure a sort of happiness or fulfillment within us. Every day, and every week we choose and eliminate. We assess and undertake, we achieve and carry out; we fail and miscarry, we hesitate and neglect.
“Life is about work. Life is hard work.” My mother ingrained this in my mind as a child. When I was young I thought it entailed math problems and dusting the living room. When I grew older I deemed it to encompass my job and purchasing a car. Now I realize that it has more to do with the relationships I develop, and the habits and desires of my heart, than merely with the tactile aspect of working hard within my career- which is excessively important- but working hard involves every fragment of one’s life.
Some people recognize this in the truest sense, and are healthy and genuine individuals, who bring life and light to others. Some recognize this, yet have misapplied it. One of the grandest failures of our world is our predisposition to work hard at the wrong things. We work incredibly hard to appear in an auspicious light: to maintain a veneer of acceptability, or to give off an appearance of life. “We have adopt(ed) behaviors that avoid difficulties. The more loquacious the one is, the more silent the other, and the more the first talks in order to fill the silence.” (The Meaning of Persons) We have implemented automatic and programmed responses to questions asked of us, to issues that arise. I think we have a feeling that real answers will harbor acrimony among us, that they will create apertures in our friendships, in our societal and work environments. Or perhaps we avoid truth because after all, it is easier to choose to circumvent things in life, rather than to look someone in the eyes and utter something wholeheartedly, of which we really have no idea how they will respond. We are bereaved of our region of jurisdiction when we choose honesty. If only we always remembered that truth does not impair, but lends us strength and protects, and actually binds us together.
We do not desire to live automatic lives, but because life is utterly exhausting, we often put ourselves on auto-pilot. Instead of daily choosing to work hard at life, we so often content ourselves with mediocrity. The Spanish proverb relates, "habits begin like threads in a spider's web, but end up like ropes." Our habits of passiveness and mediocrity have created us to be humans who are lazy at life. We all struggle with our own ills; friends, work hard at them. It takes continual prayer and hard work on our part, every minute of every day to find freedom from the desperation of ourselves.