Of Love

After a successful trip from Ohio to California, I can’t help but feel a bit refreshed, recharged, and ready to hit work harder than ever. Being that it was a cross country road trip, I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not there would be any type of ‘spiritual experience’ that would happen, given the 40 hours I’d be spending in my car. There’s nothing magical about driving across the country. However, you’d be surprised at just how much ‘magic’ can occur when one spends a significant amount of time in forced thought/meditation. The beautiful scenery is a nice perk, but entirely unnecessary for personal breakthroughs.

There are certain elements of our society that are not meant to be shared with others. For example, I have a hard time imagining public restrooms, without walls, teeming with conversation about the latest trends and news events. We have our walls for a reason.

A very good friend of mine addressed this issue, as she stated she has a “wall” inside of her, preventing others from getting in to certain parts of her life. For the longest time, I never quite understood what this meant. Truth be told, I found it to be a bit intimidating that somebody had the conscious ability to block off a certain part of their life that many tend to lose control over. Was it possible for me to also develop and maintain a wall, without damaging the quality of my life? I wondered.

This being said, I’ve come to the working conclusion that there have been parts of my life that have been shared, through conversations, blogs, or otherwise, that really had no business to be shared. It’s entirely my fault for disclosing these elements, as there were various motivations and reasons for me to disclose these parts of my life. However, that is my blame to accept, mistake to learn from, and lesson to not be repeated. An analogy might make this easier to explain…

As a child, I went up to the hot oven as my mother was cooking popcorn in a pan of oil. Rather than see the oven was hot, I reached my hand into the pan and was greeted by a searing sensation that burnt my hand quite badly. I must have been only two or three years old. I still remember the moment. This was my lesson to learn. Not everybody is the type to reach into the proverbial pan, or the kitchen, for that matter. It would be cruel for a parent to take the hand of a child and press it into boiling oil so the child could learn a lesson. It might also be considered cruel for the parent to abstain from activities that contained risk, for fear of harming the child.

Life has given me the unfortunate advantage of having many boiling pans that have enticed my hand into being introduced. This is in the proverbial sense, of course. As many lessons that have been taught me, I have not been as gracious in letting others learn these lessons for themselves; doing my best to show others what I thought to be a better path; learning the lesson without paying the price. However, I’ve realized this isn’t healthy, nor does it follow the progression our lives are supposed to take.

There could be many arguments over whether or not others, including the church, have taken this idea too far by doing their best to ‘help’ others avoid harsh lessons by coating them in thick layers of sin, fear, and the threat of eternal damnation. However, that blog is for another time. Or never.

Back on subject.

Personal disclosure. We often reveal these intimate parts of our lives to others in order that we may develop a sense of intimacy with them. However, I don’t feel that this is a healthy practice. Perhaps I could be wrong. [Un]fortunately, I cannot see the benefit of disclosing our innermost secrets to those around us, nor do I want to hear theirs. This is, for all intensive purposes, a deep form of gossip that only occurs between two people, about the two people speaking.

Do we have baggage? Absolutely. Is this what I’d like to dwell on? Absolutely not. There are certain parts of my life that I’ve decided are not worth sharing. I could also assume that others would not want to hear these parts of my life. And for those nosy enough to want to know, whom I was wrong in my assumptions about, I can say that I’d rather not get to know these people.

Just as physical intimacy ought not to be rushed into, interpersonal intimacy ought to happen over time, and with the same level of trust and respect that should go into physical connections. There are several individuals who I’ve been quite close with; able to share all of my thoughts on faith, life, love, and dreams. However, these conversations have occurred over very many years and took time/rapport to develop. I wouldn’t want to artificially spark this process, nor do I believe it’s possible.

Whether or not I’m right/wrong on this matter, I believe there should be an earned sense of self disclosure that each of us carry and maintain. A public blog is the antithesis of this idea, and thus I am switching the direction of this blog, closing a majority of it, and jumping back to a time where parts of our lives were privately shared with those we cared about; through conversation or by experiencing life with these individuals.

While driving, I went through parts of our country that are absolutely breathtaking. It stunned my senses to drive through New Mexico and watch as the sun slipped beneath the horizon. In that moment, I realized – in an instant – what it has taken me an entire blog to discuss. It would be impossible to capture the beauty of that moment with a camera. It would also be impossible to describe this moment to another, as any descriptions or metaphors that would be used to describe it would fall far short of capturing the glory of the moment. Were there another in my car, we could have experienced the sensory input in the same way. However, our reaction to it would probably be completely different. Thus, it is almost as if driving alone was the best way to experience this time. Or life, for that matter.

There’s a certain sense of enjoyment that comes from peeking over the proverbial fence and seeing how the grass is growing on the side of the neighbor. However, it requires that you take time away from your own lawn and focus on theirs. The grass will always be greener, friend. Take time to enjoy yours for what it is, and you will start to see the beautiful flowers rise from the dirt.

The conclusions that I’ve reached on this trip have been mine alone to discover. Perhaps this is a selfish mentality to have. However, it’s the one that I’ve chosen to take. I can’t replicate the lessons I’ve learned in this life, nor is it my place to attempt to teach them to others, unless they are privy to ask.

Disclosure to others also prevents one from maintaining a sense of originality. I realized a good friend of mine lacked any semblance of originality; every thought, word, idea, and world view has been taken from others, piece by piece, to form the perspective and way this individual (though it’s almost a contradiction to use this word) lives. In this respect, I have to give them credit for this method of living.

Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps you are wrong. Perhaps none of us have this entire life thing figured out completely. At the end of the day, we are all blind mice treading along a path that has been tread only certain distances by others, with small pockets of individuals devoting their lives to pursuing a single path, rather than walking the steps of others. At the end of the day, we all fall far short from arriving at the destination of knowing everything. This is completely fine by me.

Life is a journey that must be traveled one step at a time. Were it possible to speed up certain aspects of life, we would cry that critical steps are being missed. In this respect, I feel we’ve been quite guilty of skipping steps that used to take many years to accomplish. While I do not enjoy handwriting, I miss the beauty of receiving and writing letters to others. While I enjoy reading eBooks from my iPad, nothing will ever replace the smell, touch, and beauty of a regular book.

These are not parting words, friend. In fact, it is quite the opposite; I am on the ride of my life, through life, and I cannot wait to jump on and see just what the future holds.

And so we fight our way through the thick battles, encouraged by many who have fought before us who now stand tall on the walls of the city we fight to reach. They cheer us on, saying “Press on, mighty warrior! The city can be yours as is is ours, if only you fight for it!”

See you on the other side.

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