(noun) time taken by one revolution of the earth around sun, i.e. about 365 ¼ days.
ONE of the problems I have with blogging is that the big issues in my life don’t change that often. This means I could write the same entry every month or so and eventually bore myself and others senseless. And instead of doing this I just don’t blog very much. Yesterday I was reading someone’s blog from way back in 2005 where a young man dealing with SSA began with a common promise to use his new blog as a way to reveal his real self, which he couldn’t on his “everyday” blog. He lasted four posts. But I think he had just said everything he needed, and wanted, to say.
Anyway this is a convoluted way of saying I could probably just reprint my end of year blog from 2006 and most of it would still be relevant. ‘Chris is lazy in work and friendships, Chris needs to try harder when dealing with his SSA, Chris should judge his actions and thoughts by how they affect his eternity and not just his present emotional state’ and so on. But I’m going to write something anyway, because it will be interesting for me to read in the future.
Sometimes I like my life a lot. I like being an eight minute walk from work, I like how it feels on a Friday afternoon, I like seeing friends, I like exercising with work colleagues at lunch time, I like sunsets, I like playing with my dog, I like talking to people I haven’t seen in a while, I like agreeable conversations with my housemates, I like going home and wolfing down a plate of spaghetti and tomato flavoured mince sauce before riding my bike for 45 minutes, I like it when it rains, I like sleeping in late, I like how my car always starts, I like learning about other people and places, I like good music, I like laughing at a Scrubs episode on DVD, I like Australia, I like Melbourne city and the skyscrapers and the hustle and bustle of thousands of people living their lives, I like the green hills of where I live, I like making Caesar salad and then eating it, I like trains, I like the internet, I like it when people care. I like my life.
Yet I can’t help but wonder if I am unjustifiably comfortable. When life ends, and as good as those things are and as fun and enjoyable and as pleasant, they don’t matter anymore. The biggest loss this year is I don’t think about eternity. I ended my review in 2006 exhorting myself to put things in the perspective of forever and I haven’t done that. I’ve seized the day and lived in the present. In my SSA I think ‘well there’s always tomorrow,’ at work I think ‘I’ll just waste time now and worry about what I should be doing tomorrow or next week’, with catching up with friends I often think ‘there’s always another weekend,’ and with church I know there’s another Sunday and another service if I skip this one. Obviously there are good ways to seize the day and make the most of every moment, but there are also bad ways. In 2007 I did it in a bad way. But in all honesty I like it that way. I have been comfortable avoiding responsibility, seeking pleasure and being lazy.
Sometimes I think about who I am now and who I was in the middle of 2006 and I wonder how I got to where I am. Not because I don’t know, but because I am intellectually fascinated with the idea I can be one thing and then 18 months later I am another. Part of me misses who I was, but another part feels happier and freer, but occasionally concerned that judgement is coming for me. In the distant future, of course, and not through a late night car accident caused by a drunk driver, which means I meet my Maker sooner then I might wish. Because then there won’t be any tomorrow to become the man I know I should be. I am not alone in being something other then I should be. All I need to do is read an SSA forum, or a blog or ask a mate if they’ve looked at porn recently and know there’s plenty of us wasting life and squeezing pleasure out of every moment. And let’s be honest. We’re happy doing it, otherwise we wouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t wrong. Because it is. It is a tragedy. We are players on the bench as Satan kicks another goal against us, and we pretend that’s not what is really happening.
This has probably been the first year I’ve really realised that being knowledgeable and smart has many limits. I am an intellectually smart guy (I say this as a fact, not as a boast, because it is to my shame that this is true and yet the paragraph above is true too) and this served me well in high school and university where academics were a high priority. I never got lower then a distinction during my three year journalism course. But at work I notice that smarts aren’t everything. Someone who isn’t as knowledgeable as me can get a good story because they made the effort or had a good source. When interviewing people asking well researched questions isn’t as helpful unless I have a rapport with the person. Understanding an issue isn’t as impressive if I can’t find someone to interview who will articulate their position. I know now that knowledge isn’t the be all and end all. Knowing God is God is not the same as living as this is an unshakeable fact.
A few weeks ago I was on a city bound train when a man got on with his bike and sat down across from a 20 something man in a beanie. The man with the bike, who was dressed in the appropriate riding gear and obviously shaved his legs, used his mobile phone to orgainise an alcohol drinking session with a mate for later on that Sunday evening. He then began to talk to the man in a beanie across from him on the train in a friendly way about how he had a lot of acquaintances but not many friends, how the friend he would drink with tonight was an Asian who had been willing to be befriended by an Aussie and so on. I found it quite bizarre that someone would talk to a complete stranger about these kind of things, though the man in a beanie didn’t seem to mind. In fact he appeared to welcome a moment of connection with another soul as he made a lonely journey through the suburbs. The man in a bike had to get off and they exchanged names and shook hands and expressed hope for another chance meeting in the future.
Less then a week later I was again travelling on a train, this time on the way home from Melbourne. Again we were making our way through the dodgy south-eastern suburbs. There were some girls, perhaps young teenagers, talking loudly and having fun. I don’t remember their conversation, but it was probably about who was dating who and other inanities. Then for some reason a middle-aged woman began shouting at them, telling them she had had a long day and wasn’t going to put up with their rubbish, rudeness and loudness. Her voice told everyone that she was quite distressed as the whole carriage turned to look towards her. Surprised that she didn’t just sit and ignore the teenage girls as a slight inconvenience. It was a show for the other passengers, a bit of excitement on the way to wherever that Saturday evening. A group of late teen men were sitting behind me. They were tradies who were well dressed and likely turned heads wherever they went. They made a couple of comments encouraging the woman and the teenagers to have a physical go at each other. When the yelling woman got off, one of the teenage girls threw a drink of some sort at her.
It may sound bizarre, but strangers on trains point most poignantly to what is wrong with how I am living my life now. At the Victorian state election in 2010 fear in the suburbs will likely be one of the big issues. Violence on trains, stabbings outside nightclubs, riots on the beach or in the outback and alcohol fuelled aggressiveness all happen way too frequently. And more than they used to five or 10 years ago. Yet I am part of the problem like noisy teenagers and a yelling woman, rather then a man who seeks out a stranger. I’m living for my pleasure and making the most of every moment to advance the cause of me. I worry about my society and know the only answer is a God who came to save. But I am a soldier that left the fighting front many months ago. Society gets little help from me in the battle against the forces of darkness and the promotion of the Truth.
I guess now is the time for sweeping statements about how I will change and so on. But I’m not going to make them. Not because I don’t want to change, not because I don’t intend to change, not because I won’t attempt to change. I will. But I mades statements last year and it meant nothing in the end. So here’s to 2008. There’s a lot riding on you, buddy.