Sunday, October 05, 2008

Things That Linger

Today we had NPR on as we were cleaning the house--the usual massive undertaking. Accompanying my elbow grease was an interview with some classical musician, interspersed with audio clips that created a somewhat soothing atmosphere for me to perform the tedious tasks.

Although it was hard for me to fully track the flow of the interview, the content itself did not matter. They were discussing the finer points of music, the themes behind the notes. A deep dive into a particular expression of the human spirit. So non-pragmatic. So life-giving.

With all due respect to my employer and the clients I serve, there are many times when I wish more of my hours revolved around discussing some thematic nuances of a particular book, film, play or song. Many others might disagree, but to me that is doing something productive. It is peering into a window of the soul, and too often we keep the drapes shut with legions of distractions and tasks that must be ticked off of a list. Tasks and jobs and problems seem to come and go, but what touches the deep recesses of the heart tends to linger. I want to spend more time on the things that linger.

So what's my plan?

Man, it's hard to know. This is life swum against the tide, this desire to be consistently lifted up by the arts, thus lifting the heart and mind to be more creative--and, hence, productive--in so many other areas. We live in a world thoroughly committed to our mediocrity, and great works of art, whatever the genre, certainly fall outside of the realm of the mediocre.

But I'll continue to seek to be as disciplined and effective as I can be with the things I must do, in order to create more landscape for the things I long to do. And whenever possible, I will synergize them together.

When that happens--when, as Fredrick Buechner puts it, our deep desires collide with the world's deep needs--that is the sweet life. A life worth living, with a joy that lingers.


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