Thursday, October 25, 2012
Over the past year - or maybe longer - I feel a change in myself. Not a drastic flip or any weird fundamental transformation, just an "easing" if one can call it that. It's nothing I can put my finger on but I definitely feel it. For all I know it's a function of getting older, but I suspect it's more than that.
For the longest time I felt like I've was just drifting through life, not taking control and descending into a rut where I would rather people just left me alone. This included my wife, my kids, my mother, my siblings, my friends and my co-workers. I was a daydreamer, a serious daydreamer. I was waiting for this or that to happen so I could be free to pursue a real life. Of course those "things" never happened.
Last year I had some health issues - serious, yes, but I'm alright now. There's little doubt that this had an effect on my outlook, facing your mortality will do that I suppose. During the trying times I remember walking around our place and thinking I really need to buy one those, get one of these, fix up that, organize this before winter etc etc, and then stopping to think how utterly unimportant it all was. It was just stuff. Mostly stuff that will be tossed out when I'm gone anyway. The things I valued were just things. What I was missing was the value of the people in my life and the relationships I had put off. For so long, too long, people were a hassle to be endured - and that included myself. I needed to change that.
Don't for a minute think I've succeeded, not yet anyway. I am trying to stop, think and act like a decent human being, a citizen of a Godly kingdom instead of a self righteous, know-it-all of 21st century Earth. Reaching out, making an effort to connect and re-connect with family and friends or just engaging with the people in your daily walk is the first step. This is far more difficult than it would seem.
Our modern world has us focus on ourselves so much that we exclude or shut out everyone else. This busy, busy, hurry up existence saps our energy and provides the convenient excuse we all use to keep everything at arms length. I see it with young people, young men particularly. They build electronic/online relationships and then spend all their waking moments in cyber-land. They miss out on so much. For young women there's texting, e-mail and, of course, Facebook that gives the appearance of connecting with others but it's superficial at best. We ancients aren't immune to it - obviously - as I sit alone typing this out into an Internet blog.
The thing is computers, TV shows, football teams, smart phones and cars can disappoint us, but not like people do. People require real relationships, with these other things it's nearly always a one way street. They don't require much from us - no true emotion anyway. Our cats and dogs require a little love and attention but they give it back in spades, but people, people are so demanding - especially loved ones.
It's called living in the present, being present. It's difficult to do. When my wife and I started going to a new church earlier this year - a teaching church - this was one of the first "lessons". Being present, being engaged where you are with the people you're with. I am becoming convinced that it is the secret of success. And yes, this too, is difficult to do all the time.
Now that I'm conscious of the concept and have seen the benefit of engaging I plan to start to get involved with my own life - and then maybe I can pay attention to you too.