Thursday, August 02, 2012

Quiet Desperation

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.
-Henry David Thoreau from Walden

I have just returned from my afternoon walk as I begin writing these thoughts. I had to force myself to walk because I was tired and not really in the mood. While walking I thought about how so much of my life is a matter of force. I have to force myself to do things I don’t want to do. I also have to force myself not to do things I want to do. The more I thought about this the more depressed I got. It often occurs to me that almost everything I do is geared towards filling up an emptiness within me. The books I read, the music I listen to, the spiritual quests I am on, the deep thoughts, the endless reflection and introspection, the variety of friendships I have, are all an attempt to give myself a satisfying, meaningful, and fulfilling life. Although I am speaking about myself, I think many others can identify with how I feel. Most of us do work we do not love because of the need for money. We may be in relationships that drain us and tax our patience. Maybe we feel trapped in our lives. We travel down a road that seems to have no exits and no obvious destination. Our days can feel like an eternity even though they seem to add up quickly. These days turn into weeks, the weeks turn into months, and the months turn into years. The search for meaning often seems never ending. One hopes, however, that the search turns into a discovery. More often than not the discovery is elusive. Maybe I am just tired and feeling some existential angst. Maybe Thoreau is right. Maybe my search for meaning should take a break. Perhaps I should focus my search on finding a couch where I can take a long nap. Today is my last work day this week. Tomorrow I will spend the day with my good friend, Fr. Dennis. He is like a big brother to me. Usually a day with him is refreshing. He makes me laugh and we always have a good time. Maybe we will find the meaning of life together at the local Dairy Queen in the guise of a banana split.

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