1.22.2009

Where To From Here...

It’s all up in the air. It always is with me. Sometimes I feel like a cowboy in an old Western, even if that’s not what I'm shooting for. There’s this one scene in “The Magnificent Seven” (truly a great Western film) where all the gun slingers are gathered in a village. They are defending this little Mexican town from a group of roving banditos. So all the hired guns are sitting around sharing the various hardships of being a cowboy and one of the cowboys speaks a line that resonates deep within me:

“Rented rooms you’ve lived in - five hundred! Meals you eat in hash houses - a thousand! Home - none! Wife - none! Kids... none! Prospects - zero.”

Sounds depressing, don’t it? But no, I'm not trying to live the life of a cowboy. Not trying to live like a gypsy or a nomad or Kerouac and the Beat Generation nor the Hippies that came after them. No, this isn’t how I'm trying to live my life. How I am trying to live is much more difficult for me to explain, much more difficult to formulate into coherent sentences grouped together to make paragraphs that might eventually go on to become a story you might want to read or perhaps even be a part of.

I'm not there yet, wherever there may be. The storyline that is my life is still a sketch, still just an outline. I catch glimpses, every now and then, of what might be to come. But nothing holds water; at least not for very long.

And this is beyond difficult. This time in life is hard. Some say I should just give up and give in. But what, exactly, am I supposed to give up on and give in to?

But listen, I mean you must understand that I do not hate my life, quite the opposite in fact. I choose how I live. Not many people can say that about their lives. I'm beholden to no one, which at times has its advantages and disadvantages. I live simply. No debt. Not much to speak of in the way of material wealth. I have a family that loves me deeply. I have friends that love me deeply as well. I can pick up and leave at the drop of a hat, and sometimes I do.

Then there’s the loneliness. You’ll often hear people romanticize the kind of life I'm living. Hell, you’ll even catch me romanticizing it more often than not. But most skim over this constant companion of loneliness that often stays close by us on our journey. It takes time, energy, and a constant supply of curiosity to meet new people, make new friends, share of your self in the same genuine manner that you hope others will share of themselves with you. I find community; get my “community fix”, in small doses these days.

It’s not like it was just a few years ago when community on an almost consistent basis surrounded me. It’s hard to go from being a missionary surrounded by others who shared at least some semblance of a common goal to being relatively alone with your thoughts, finding folks that “get” you only every so often and even then not nearly as often as you might hope.

And this is the thing about wandering, the thing about journeying that I am only beginning to understand. This loneliness, this acute awareness of never really being understood, this is one of the truest things about me. The beauty of the wanderer is that he begins to understand and perhaps eventually accept that loneliness is not something to be rid of but rather something to embrace and live within.

Don’t ask me where these thoughts came from. I just got lonely and started writing.


I’ll leave you with this fine tune (Arthur McBride) performed by Paul Brady back in 1977. A good story sung well has buoyed me through many a long, lonely day.

2 Comments:

Blogger Arizona Bam said...

I say, carry on... carry on.

I think you're on to something important.

3:22 PM  
Blogger wilsonian said...

Not that I think you're really at any risk of changing course entirely and trying to fit into what is socially accepted, but none-the-less... please, please, please don't.

It's not worth the cost.

Yes, there is a higher price to pay than loneliness.

2:33 PM  

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