Do you ever feel like you’re sitting on the edge of life and never really “living” it? Maybe this is an overly philosophical thought, but there are times when my chest is tight and I feel like a rope is tied in between me and the living world and I can’t get past it. It’s when I feel disconnected- I read fiction books, watch TV shows centered around fiction lives, scroll through social media to get a single snapshot of the lives of others. Too much of these things causes me lose my sense of “human-ness”. Yes, books & tv shows, particularly books, can help to expand our knowledge of human kind and give us a better sense of self, but too much of these things leaves me grasping in the air desperate to touch anything eternal.
“Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”
—Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
I believe that God is the God of the small things, but why do we choose to fill our lives with so many “small things.” Small talk is the most frustrating. I look into someone’s eyes, think about their life/family/thoughts and all I can muster is “how ya doing?” They ask the same of me and I simply say “pretty good!” It makes me kind of sick thinking of it. I think YOLO when trying to make a quick decision that has consequences but fun rewards, but I think “there’s always later” when I choose to sit inside hours at a time browsing the web.
“‘Dear God,’ she prayed, ‘let me be something every minute of every hour of my life.’”
—Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
It’s a weird and unnatural balance trying to figure out how much of our attention to dedicate to the “here and now” vs. the “eternal.” I think for many of us it becomes too much of a burden to think about so we choose to think about neither and just live in world were nothing really matters.
Maybe that feeling of sitting on the edge of life is simply a reminder of how life is never completely satisfying.
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
–C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
An unsatisfying life seems rather hopeless and dark. If all life means is living until we die and go to eternity why is life even worth getting out of the house or engaging in real conversations? Perhaps because eternity isn’t just after we die, but all around us. The work of God is all of creation and every human we encounter. Engaging in conversation isn’t just chatting up a stranger but coming face to face with a byproduct of God’s own handiwork. Getting out of the house allows us to see more and more of who God is- getting glimpses of His glory every step we take.
Next time my chest gets tight and feel myself sinking beyond insignificance I will just breathe in & breathe out and remember all that is needed is a mind shift so I will see life as it truly is.