Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Thief

On Tuesday night I went with a friend, and our eldest daughters, to see Jurassic World, in 3D.  I had to say it was a highly enjoyable film.  Years, ago I enjoyed Jurassic Park, so I was looking forward to this film as well.  Christ Pratt did a great job, and the whole thing was pretty cool.  One of the messages woven into the film which really spoke to me was the message of how we, as a culture, have lost our sense of wonder in the miraculous that is around us every day.  It seems ludicrous to imagine that we could live in a world, where someone can be standing in front of a live dinosaur, and be checking their phone, but that is not too far from the reality in which we live.  Well, minus the fact there are no dinosaurs around.  But the point remains.  I recently saw a photo of a man on a boat, with a humpback whale directly beneath him.  And he was checking his phone.Another photo I saw was of students all on their phones, in front of great art.  I realize, of course, that these pictures represent mere moments in time.  It is really unfair to judge someone's motives from a single moment, or to assume the worst with little true evidence.  Perhaps the man was taking a picture of the whale; maybe the students were doing research.  Regardless of the actual motivation of the people in the photos, for me, those photos are metaphorical for how I feel sometimes.   Because I am surrounded daily by the miraculous in what appears to be mundane, and yet at times I struggle to find joy.  At that moment, then the most miraculous and wonderful BECOMES mundane to me. 
I see how often my world is filled with busyness, and yet I struggle to find the meaning in it all.  In a world of cell phones,  Facebook, email,  and Instagram,  I find myself missing the days of land lines and handwritten notes.  Amidst all the activities our children participate in, I struggle at moments to find the purpose of the busyness. With all of the advances and innovations and technologies, it is easy to feel more disconnected than ever.   I don't mean to imply that all the busyness is purposeless or bad, but there is a menace I battle within my own heart, that has the capacity to suck the joy out of living at times.  Theodore Roosevelt said it best when he said, "Comparison is the thief of joy."  And I struggle against the vanity and emptiness of that thief.  Wherever I look, I see the temptation at my door.  Because it's really not at my door, but within myself.  I have this need to make a mark, to live a life of meaning, and to be TRULY KNOWN by others, or at the least, by someone who cares.  When I submit my desires to the One who made me, whose ways and plans are higher than my own, I find my life in giving it away.  In Knowing HIM more, I come to see how He knows me better than I know myself, and loves me.  And in my submission to His ways and His will, I find the acceptance and meaning my heart craves.    But this desire to be known can become twisted when I try to use the choices of others around me, or even their acceptance or rejection of me,  as my reference point for whether my life is meaningful.  And with the internet,along with the fast pace of the world we see around us,  the temptation for a heart to compare is great.  It is easy sometimes to forget, and to become lost in the sea of the  many voices around me.  It is then that I feel the temptation to despair the most, and the most disconnected.  It is in that moment I forget the wonder and the miracle of each breath I take, whooshing in and out, the joy of my children's laughter, of my husband's smile.  I have no time, when I am comparing my life, to sit with a friend for coffee, or relish the joy of sitting down to play a game of candyland with my kids, just because.