Saturday, December 15, 2007

Do all these roads lead me back to...?

Do I really believe in the things I say I do? Do I really believe that I can make a difference here, do I really believe that the world won't have torn itself to pieces in fifteen or twenty years? Do I really believe that the things I do have a lasting value?

Six months ago, I might have answered differently than I do now. I'm still a pessimist at heart, however. When I was growing up, I really didn't plan on living past college. I wasn't a fatalist, I wasn't going to do anything stupid to make sure college was all the farther I got, I just never planned on much past it.

Therefore, it was a great surprise to me to wake up one day and realize that I was taking the last final exam of my college experience that day, that I had walked the stage the Saturday before, that I was done. I took the week off of work during finals. I was still working the same job, I was just wanting some amount of change for the transition from part time to full time. I remember, my uncle and I were going to play in a golf league that summer, and I needed to practice so I could have said that I had golfed in the last five years. I went out one day with him over his lunch hour, we played nine holes, and then I decided I'd play nine more after he went back to work. I was golfing around the course (rather poorly, I might add as an aside), and I can fairly distinctly remember thinking, "Aren't things supposed to be different now that I'm done with school? Isn't this going to make everything better?"

You will be able to answer that question, of course. No, just graduating from school didn't make everything better. All the things I struggled with while I was in school, they were still there. All the things that I thought I could be, most of them I couldn't. All the things I thought I wanted, they didn't really make much of a difference to me. Nothing really affected me for about a year and a half or so. I was just coasting along in life, little purpose or direction.

So then, I had a series of things happen to me. I can't really recount or remember all of them, in many ways they were just life, but in other ways, they were indications or pointers to me that my life was what I thought I wanted, and it was just coasting along with no point, no fulfillment, no point. But I had manufactured enough soma to convince myself that I was happy. Like the Preacher, I sought all my heart desired, and realized that it was vanity, and striving after wind. Nothing I had built with my hands would last.

What is someone to do when they reach such a realization? As a man, what can your reaction be? At first, mine was one of denial of need to change. My friends can tell you that, they can tell you that they knew I was off for a while, but that I wouldn't admit it. When I finally did admit it, and finally recognized the call to change, I fought it. I put obstacles in the path so that I could avoid dealing with the need to change for a while. Finally I accepted the necessity of change, and tried to do something about it.

Then... nothing. No movement. I figured when I decided change needed to happen, it would happen right away. Nothing. The avenues I explored were exciting, but they weren't right. Then, out of the blue, the job offer for my current job came. And I knew I had to take it. I didn't have much other choice. So I took it. It has brought me here. So many other things that the Preacher said, I understand better now.

Why do I write this rambling remembrance at this time? Things are changing again. In five days, I'll be back in the States. In three weeks or so, I'll be back here. I'll be living in a different place, as yet undetermined. I'll be doing... something, also as yet totally undetermined. I'm not sure that I'm doing the 'right' thing. I realize that I'm not sure of much in my life. However; even though I don't like uncertainty, I'm OK with where I am at. I'm understanding of the fact that growth isn't always easy, comfortable, or clear at the time. In fact, growth rarely is these things. I look forward to growing.

My roommate moved out today. I need to pack up my stuff in the next couple of days. Then I get to visit my family in the States. I find it hard to call that going home, not because I think of here as home, not because there isn't where I used to call home, but because Home seems much more of an idea in this life than it does a place. It's the comfortability to be open with someone. It's the security of knowing that you are in a place where you can be you. Home is what you make of it, not where you are.

And your attitude can make such a difference about what Home is. I know when I take the time to mentally choose to be joyful, to focus on what and who really matters, my home can be anywhere. When I don't choose those things, home is distant, home is away, home is a place, home is meaningless.

The answer to the question posed in the title of this post is that not all roads lead me back. There is only one that does. Every day, I must choose to make that my road to Home. Not always am I successful, but I'm getting better. Not always do I avoid the snares that seek to trip me up on the road, but I'm gaining more sight to see them. Not always am I swift or strong, but the race is not to those.

The race is not to those.

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