Friday, January 18, 2008

Shaking Monsters, Chasing Lions

Sometimes the pursuit is enough.
I can be pretty lazy if the setting is right. Seeing as how the definition of 'lazy' is the unwillingness to work or use energy, one would think that the amount of force and willpower that is called for to overcome this dead-weight monster dormant inside of me would be minimal. I wish this was so. But this is a strong beast who has been known to have its way with my day no matter my plans otherwise stated and mapped out. An example will explain this clash of wills nicely.
Yesterday was a long day and at a quarter past eleven the pancake fairy whispered in my ear and quickly convinced me that pancakes would be a great way to end the day. As I stood to begin my short voyage to the local 24-hour spot to get a short stack - for a cost greater than I realistically have to spend on such a thing at such a time - a hint of reason popped in mind to save the day: I can wait, go to bed early, wake up early and take whatever I'd like from the campus buffet. I pictured stacking my plate with pancakes, hash browns, fruit, and drinking as much of the wonderful white 2% milk as I want without having to pay a single cent. Reason won the first battle! I was in bed with the lights out before ten past midnight with my alarm set for 7:00 even.
I ended up hugging my alarm until 7:20 so I could be in quick reach of the snooze button, but I was up and dressed with teeth brushed and out the door by 7:30. Breakfast was good. No pancakes, but I did have a refreshing walk in the 17 degree air and the milk I dreamed about the night before was like honey on my lips. As I walked back to my apartment at 8:15 this morning I planned what I would be doing for the hours to come, the hours that, except for this morning, are rarely more than mythical things spoken about, hardly experienced. With all this extra time I could watch the Shawshank Redemption
and take care of a meeting or two that I have been putting off for over a week now. I reached my office with the morning ahead of me and I was ready for the adventure that was to follow. I sat down on the couch and noticed how remarkably comfortable it was this morning. Don't get me wrong, it's a good couch, but this morning the comfort it brought was beyond what I had ever imagined what a couch's capability could ever be. Right then I heard the Sirens calling from my bedroom; and it was a sweet, sweet song. I figured I would be even more productive if I had a 30 minute nap, waking up full of energy to take on what the hours left in the morning had to bring.
And then I woke up at noon.
Despite my desires and plans, I sometimes find myself choosing the path with least effort, picking comfort over victory. Thank goodness I have come to see the value in delayed gratification verses the diminished sum of pleasure and reward that comes with giving in to actions (aka 'inactivity' a majority of the time) which bring gratification instantly. I know this long winded story is a prime example of a less rewarding act of giving in for the immediate, but I have found myself over the years, and especially over the last year, developing 1) a patience which gives me the strength to wait on the things for which I strive but which have not yet arrived, and 2) the energy and drive to get off my rump and search for/go after the things worth attaining - Mark Batterson calls this 'Chasing the Lion' (an idea he developed from a story recorded in II Samuel 23).
A beautiful day was born when I decided I had waited long enough, that "Today is going to be the day when I finally do what I have been talking about doing for eons." I am not saying it was nearly as intense, but I am going to compare this moment to those familiar moments in movies when all seems lost for the protagonist. The world is against him, it's now or never, the flames are rising and all hope seems lost...[In these moments Reese Roper said Hope is the bravest of things]. I chose to strip away the old habits and kill the sloth of a swine that has been on my back and weighing me down for too long and begin the Pursuit.
This Pursuit of which I speak is a collection of a multitude of pursuits. More of a lifestyle than specific actions. This isn't a pendulum swing from passivity to aggressively hunting my prey, but rather, being assertive and not letting my goals and wishes wander by calmly without my lifting of a finger.
Some of these pursuits have yet to be completed. I still have that out-of-tune and broken-down mandolin sitting against the wall which is gathering more dust than is giving out notes; there is that book which is just a chapter long. There are other particular things which have gone in directions undesired. But sometimes the pursuit is enough. Sometimes it is the pursuit, not the achievement, that means the most, that means anything. Maybe the Pursuit is never completed until all things are completed. Not attaining a goal doesn't mean failure, just change - that is, as long as I do my part and do it earnestly. Sometimes the fervent pursuit shows that the things pursued are worth the energy spent.
Sometimes the pursuit is enough.

1 comment:

Mike said...

I read your blog, took a nap halfway thru and then got up and decided to tame the beast and finish reading it. Ha! I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggles with the sloth of a swine.