On occasion I've found myself in a comfortable chair, or outdoors on a porch under the night sky, drinking a cup of tea or a cold pint of something from across the Atlantic. My companions in these moments may be smoking pipes, riding skateboards, doing both or just sitting across from me. Conversation rolls into the early morning hours, ranging from art to science to politics to spirituality, and in reality it is all spiritual. The Unseen has fingers and threads throughout, shaping us and causing us to wonder. These evenings are a rare treat, a gourmet desert for the soul, and like any rich food, not available or even practical for every meal, or every day. Still, I would take more.
The reality we are under, however, is that our lives are not like Friends or like any other television show involving a coffee house. My friends and I live in various suburbs, with our responsibilities and blessings of marriage, parenthood, employment, and service to others at the center of our schedules. If our lives were made into a weekly program, it would be three to five episodes of people trying to get in touch, trying to make time for eachother, followed by one week of good conversation. No one would watch it, because it would look too much like real life to make good reality television.
Many of us have images of a perfect world, dreams of the Inklings
, or your favorite group of thinkers, philosophers, and writers, wanting to gather with our brilliant friends and be brilliant together. Most of us are not quite that brilliant, however, and we secretly know it. There is the rub. Shall we assemble and lie to each other and ourselves, then, or is the assembly itself enough to inspire and edify us? I believe it is the latter. If one man in a thousand will successfully climb the mountain of greatness, does that mean the rest of us should trade in our climbing gear for better televisions and only live vicariously? Or is it possible that there is something to be gained through our failed attempts? Nine-hundred-ninety-nine men and women being inspired by the one who made it all the way, throwing ourselves up the face of the mountain, being humbled and shaped by the rocks that stand in our way. Returning, broken but quietly satisfied, having gained a story to tell, a scar as testimony, and knowing that we have attempted great things, that we have not settled for less, have not given up without a fight, have not dared and risked mightily?
So for now, we enjoy the times as we can. We write, sing, attempt, fail, struggle, weep, laugh, work, rest, and are thankful for the journey. If it takes us another month, or even a year to find a few hours of quiet to reflect and share, it will still be worth it.