Sunday, July 3, 2011

Priorities & Life Essentials (it sounds like a proper post, but I warn you that it is a ramble)

So, where do I begin, except to say that my return to blogging has been... well, slow.  Might I blame it on my computer being out of order for about a month?  Yes, I might.  And yes, I will.

Although, if I were honest, I would admit that it is a deeper problem than merely being at the mercy of a family member for time on a computer.  It is more the fact that I do not take the time I should for the non-essentials, that are perhaps essentials after all, in life.  I easily slip into 'soldier mode' when things need to be done... (good at times, but it makes me a slave to seen production, at others) but sometimes I forget to come out.  It is a habit that is certainly not in keeping with one of my main new years resolutions, "To focus on living rather than existing, dragging, or surviving.  To be willing to be inconvenienced for the sake of beauty, adventure, and others."  But the daily grind, the getting the tasks checked off is so much easier in an odd sort of way, because it is progress that is seen... But then, for an introspective person like me, it becomes harder in the long run and I feel less and less alive and more and more like a machine, hampering productivity in the long run.

Could it be, perhaps, that beauty, art, music, is an essential for the mind and soul; while working, cleaning, and life maintenance is essential for the body?  But then since we are both soul and body, both are essential?  And that to lack either is to be off balance?

Such thoughts run often through my mind... but today (actually this was Thur and today is Sun, but I'm just now taking time to post), I penned some of them in my journal.  Then, I picked up a new book... A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Venauken, a gift from a good friend, and I can see why it came so highly recommended, though I am only on the second chapter:

"He must have been, he supposed, about fifteen.  He couldn't recall what it was in his reading that had begun the train of thought- yes, he could: it had been the great brains in their towers at Staphledon's splendid _Last and First Men_.  He had been wont to despise emotions: girls were emotional, girls were weak, emotions- tears- were weakness.  But this morning he was thinking that being a great brain in a tower, nothing but a brain, wouldn't be much fun.  No excitement, no dog to love, no joy in the blue sky- no feelings at all.  But feelings- feelings are emotions! He was suddenly overwhelmed by the revelation that what makes life worth living is, precisely, the emotions.  But, then- this was awful! -maybe girls with their tears and laughter were getting more out of life.  Shattering! He checked himself: showing one's emotions was not the thing: having them was.   Still, he was dizzy with the revelation.  What is beauty but something that is responded to with emotion?  Courage, at least partly, is emotional.  All the splendour of life. But if the best of life is, in fact, emotional, then one wanted the highest, purest emotions: and that meant joy.  Joy was the highest.  How did one find joy? ....  But in the books again, great joy through love seemed always to go hand in hand with frightful pain. Still, he thought... still, the joy would be worth the pain- if indeed, they went together. If there were a choice- and he suspected there was- a choice between, on the one hand, the heights and the depths and, on the other hand, some sort of safe, cautious middle way, he, for one, here and now chose the heights and the depths."  (pg. 18, A  Severe Mercy)

What a lot to be elaborated on from that paragraph, but, for now, "He was suddenly overwhelmed by the revelation that what makes life worth living is, precisely, the emotions."  Hmm....  Of course, Jesus makes life worth living, but God gave us emotions, and one cannot be completely emotionally nourished without the love and sweetness of Jesus.  So please do not misunderstand that I believe life to be truly worth living without Christ, I don't.  But, I do want to live this life, this passing through on my way Home, in such a way that points to an extraordinary God, not a harsh joyless task master.   ("Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know so extraordinary a God." -Jim Elliot)

Now that I've gotten that possible misunderstanding cleared up, back to my musings from earlier:  Beauty nourishes the emotions and the soul, yes?  And the emotions of life are not to be brushed under the rug like so much clutter, yes?  Are they not what "makes life worth living"?  Isn't it music that nourishes the soul?  Art?  A sunset?  A bird soaring in the sky?  Fields of flowers, or a single rose?  A whisper of breeze across your face?  None of these things are really needed to survive.  But they are needed to live.  And surely that's why God put so much beauty in the earth... He knew we needed it for our emotions and souls to be nourished.  And perhaps, that is why there are so many hollow bodies walking around... people who are so caught in the daily grind and the vicious game of "Keeping Up with the Jones" that they do not take the time to nourish their soul, only their bodies (and that only sometimes, when they have time for something besides fast food).

And perhaps, for me, the question is, why do I so often mentally revisit this question, and then reaffirm the same answer?  Is it because I so soon forget?  Yes... So soon to get caught up in the work of life, the practicalities of serving Jesus.... and in my busyness I forget to just be with Him, and enjoy Him and all the beauty He's put in my life...  My priorities get out of whack.  It's something I constantly have to be on guard for.

I'm so quick to let the beautiful things in life that whisper softly slip, in favor of tasks that scream loudly for my attention...

You know, I'm really not certain that ramble makes any sense to anyone else, and not one hundred percent sure that it does to me, or at least that it conveys what I mean...  But if I'm going to be a perfectionist with my blog, I'll never end up posting anything.  And I feel certain that writing is one of those whispering things that I really need to start taking time for, whether I'm sure it makes sense of not.  It is essential for me to have some sort of outlet for my mental meanderings.  Otherwise I get a headache.  I was told once that I'm too deep of a thinker by someone I thought a lot of... it really bothered me for a while, but then I realized that that person doesn't think enough (at least about the important things), and so they should be quiet about things they know nothing about and let me enjoy my musings.  And enjoy them, I do... taking time to muse is one of those beautiful essentials that we all need more of, methinks.  To quote A Severe Mercy again, "We quoted a poem by W.H. Davies to the effect that it is a poor life if we have no time 'to stop and stare' as sheep and cows can do."  Amen.


Ryan said...

It is not possible to be too deep a thinker, or to think too much. Trust the Holy Spirit to know what He's doing. If you think about it (which I do) He has been leading you for 26 years, just to bring you to this thought, right now. And when you have thought this, He will use it as a stepping stone to lead you on to other thoughts, and to actions that you can't imagine right now.

Marianna Rose said...

Thank you so much, Ryan. You always give such good perspective! This is a true and very hopeful thought! mmm...