What is enough?
What is excess – what is not enough?
Can I trust this yearning inside that tells me
yes, this is lacking, and no, that is surfeit?
There is no better judge, no better measure
than resides in this heart
that beats in this breast
in this body
that is the center of my personal universe.
There can be no better understanding
as that is the only understanding
I will ever, ever know.
Trusting what is within me
to be enough.
It’s only a book that tempts me
to ignore the dishes in the sink, the laundry in the basket, the litterbox,
the papers waiting to be graded.
It’s only a book that tempts me
to stay up and read the last half (when it’s already midnight)
and I have to go to work tomorrow.
It’s only a book, and when I read it, I hear nothing, am aware of nothing else in the universe, including
alarm clocks, phone calls, microwave timer buzzers, the purring cat in my lap who
prickles my leg as she makes bread against my thigh.
It’s only a book that calls me
into another’s life, another world, another reality, another experience of someone else’s imagination.
It’s only a book. I’m hooked.
Because you are breathing, and life isn’t always fair. Because there are lessons you are supposed to learn from this, and you haven’t learned them yet, or you would not be going through this again. Because there is a reason that you can’t see, and this time, the lesson is that you are supposed to have faith and trust that God knows best for you. Even if it hurts.
Because it is for the good of someone else, not you this time. Because you are strong enough to take it, and come out victorious on the other side, even if it does not feel that way right now. Because you made a less-than wise (OK, butt-ugly, dumb, and stupid) decision and must now suffer the consequences of your own haste/poor judgment/desires. Because the universe and the planets aligned and it was simply your turn. Because you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Because you deserved it (ouch). Because karma made that big circle, and your chickens are coming home to roost. Because you were good and noble and the world does not always honor that. Because it is a sacrifice. Because it is an honor. Because you love. Because you live.
Who am I to consider the universe? I AM, that’s who I am, and being human (unlike SOME people I know and could name), I do contemplate why I am here, what I am supposed to be doing here, and what might occur once I am no longer here. First of all, why is the personal pronoun I always capitalized? That makes us think we might be God, because He is the only One for Whom pronouns are capitalized. Think about it. He, she and it, they and them, us and we are all uncapitalized, unless they occur at the beginning of a sentence. Why does ‘I’ get such special recognition? Why not i instead, unless we are claiming divinity for ourselves by capitalizing it? Frankly, the whole idea makes me nervous. I know damn well that I am nowhere approaching divinity. I don’t have NEARLY enough patience to be God.
I can see me now, like some kid on an anthill with a magnifying glass: that’s YOUR last chance, dude – ZAP!! Of course, if God wanted more believers in a big hurry, He could always make the connection between bad behavior and annihilation more clearly self-evident. Maybe He does not want followers who are only after the fire insurance. Come to think of it, I would not want those, either.
I’ve been reading a book written by a self-educated thinker named Eric Hoffer called The True Believer, which is a philosophical discussion into what makes a mass movement follower. It appears that creative types are fairly immune to mass movements as long as they are actively creating. Apparently, creative endeavors, whatever form the creativity takes, acts as an inoculant against following the ideas of someone else. Does not appear to matter if the creativity is in letters (literature), science, engineering, visual arts, performing arts such as dance, or any other realm (including growing things), it appears that the creative drive is self-fulfilment enough to help those people avoid becoming followers. Apparently you have to have a significant degree of boredom and dissatisfaction with your life before you feel the urge to align yourself with some cause, and adopt another identity related to it. The decline of handicrafts is a recipe for a mass movement, or as my grandmother used to say, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Still true today.