"Can an ass be tragic? To perish under a burden one can neither bear nor throw off? The case of the philosopher." Friedrich Nietzsche
I have been thinking. I don't like to spend a preponderance of time pursuing that endeavor, for I have found prayer to be infinitely more valuable, but thought is required for some day-to-day activities; examples include dressing, food production, and the like. Concerning the children, I have found prayer to be the only avenue of sanity; pondering their activity can only induce nervous tics and premature graying, or at the least, indigestion. Work requires thought, but of a utilitarian nature, and so largely benign in consequence. But as of late, despite the warning of my conscience, I have been thinking.
What consequence is my existence? Have I made an impact beyond the ubiquitous carbon footprint I am told I am making? What legacy does a man leave by working, praying, and doing the best he can? What priority is family? God? Self?
I am at what I would consider the "half-way point" of life, God willing. Bones are beginning to creak a bit, and I am graying in the beard. The children consider me old, although they are hardly impartial judges of such as anyone beyond the 12th grade is an ancient in their estimation. I am soft in the middle, and my pants keep falling down because of the blasted inverted cone shape I seem to have developed overnight. Though I hope the finish line is still a distance away, it is...closer. I feel the urge to fish or cut bait.
God's will for my life is a constant discernment, and often, only recognizable by the fruit of best guesses. I have not been blessed by locutions or visions, nor has the discernible voice of God roused me from my slumber like Samuel in the temple so long ago. I am told convincingly by one to rouse my courage and make a mark, by another to live humbly and invisibly, sacrificing self and abandoning the world. Each makes sense. But to whom? To me?
This evening I sat on the back patio with my four-year-old daughter Teresa. She prattled on about school, mosquitoes, dancing, the sand box, and various other topics in what seemed like a breathless succession of thoughts and ideas. She stopped for a moment to take a bite of her hot dog, seemed to think for a brief moment, and then smiled as sweetly as she could with a bit of ketchup on the corner of her lips and said, "thanks for dinner, daddy." "You're welcome, sweetie," I replied.
Thanks for Teresa, Abba. I'll stop thinking. For now.