Life

Mining Heart Treasure

“If the purpose of life is this loveless toil we fill our days with, then it’s not for me. There must be something better. There has to be.”
Brother Sun, Sister Moon, story of Saint Francis of Assisi.

It’s been more than a month since my last post. It’s not that I haven’t felt like blogging; the core issue has been that I haven’t felt like writing. God, that feels wierd to say. I can’t remember a time I didn’t feel like writing. When I am busy and overwhelmed, I may find that I’m too tired or too distracted to write, but it doesn’t sway me from my desire to knit words, even if those words remain unpolished, unread by anyone except Someone.

The words are still there, of course. Even if I lack the will to cast light upon them, the words pile up, and I suppose even the staunchest spell of apathy holds only so long against such a mounting flood of words. Today appears to be the day when at least some of those words will spill forth into the waking world.

I hate this time of year. All my life, I’ve hated this time of year. The weather doesn’t help. In the Green Lantern comic books, the color green is the color of will. During Winter in the Pacific Northwest, green is the color of decay. It is the color of the moss and algae upon the sidewalks, showing translucently beneath the besetting mist which cloaks the streets and clings to windshields and clothing and works to lock in the city’s noisome odors.

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Photo by Clane Gessel

At Christmas time, the twinkling Christmas lights tend to soften the heaviness of the weather. But once December is past, I am forced to confront the dreariness of the New Year. I know that New Year’s is supposed to usher in the hope and excitement of a fresh start, but for me, it is merely a reminder of the incessant passage of time. It is a reminder that for reasons I cannot understand, I exist.

In recent weeks, I’ve found myself in angst over the issue of existence. You’ve probably seen that office supply store commercial with the “easy button” – the one you can push to make pesky, every day sort of problems go away. The thing is, the problems on those commercials are so trivial compared to the problem of existence. I don’t need cases of printer paper at the press of a button; I need a cure for the tortuous drone of existence!

This stretch of words you read is actually the second of a substantive nature I’ve summoned the will to spin in the past week. The first stretch – the one that dislodged the proverbial log jam inside me – was written as a letter to my nine-year-old son. I write to him often. The Bible talks about how Mary observed Jesus as he was growing up, and she “treasured these things in her heart.” I think that’s why I write letters to my son. I see him do things that amaze me, and the letters I write to him – letters he may or may not read some day when he’s older – are my way of treasuring him in my heart.

In this most recent letter, I confessed I’d been feeling quite down lately and, were I given the opportunity – were I gifted an “easy button” by which I might halt my existence for a time – I would be sorely tempted to press that button. But if such a button did exist, I know that thoughts of my beloved boy – of all that treasure I store in my heart – would work to stave my hand.

There’s a thing he’s been doing lately that touches me every time he does it. The NFL playoffs are in full swing, and our Seahawks are making another run at the Super Bowl. Samuel doesn’t care much for football. He doesn’t understand it, and even if he did, it wouldn’t be his thing. But he tries to care. During every game, he’ll sit beside me for a time, and he’ll try his best to follow the game and to root for the Seahawks. Why? Because of me. That’s something special. It’s something to hold on to – that this child has such love in his heart for a dad who can often be difficult to love.

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You may remember a few months ago, I wrote about a de-medicating process I’d begun. Thanks to the magic of meditation, the wonder of acupuncture, and the miracle of honest prayers, this process is complete – that is, the portion of the process that involves the removal of medication from my anatomy is complete. The remainder of the process, it pains me to confess, will carry on for the rest of my life.

I’m going tie off this string by recounting a meditative prayer I came up with, which I’ve found helpful. Perhaps, if you are one who struggles with the issue of existence as I do, this may help you as well.

God, whoever you are, I choose to believe that you exist, and you are here with me.
I choose to believe that you are good, and you want good things for me.
I choose to believe that you love me, and your love is capable of changing me.
I choose to believe that I love you, and for reasons too mysterious to understand, my love matters to you.

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