27 Sep The Poles of My Existence
When I walk back and forth to work I pass by a blues bar. It opens at 10am and there are usually a group of men on the front porch drinking by at least 11am.
Every day I walk by, the same man is there. His cigarette stained beard, weathered face, and baseball cap put his signature on the space. I wonder so many things about this man. Why doesn’t he work? How can he drink and smoke all day long everyday? What is his health like? How much does he actually drink? Is he happy with this life? What is his story?
Then I realize I am jealous. I sometimes want to be just where he is, evading all of life’s most difficult realities, drowning them in juice. I don’t know his story and my purpose here isn’t to pass judgment as I’m sure he’s led a life of pain. But he represents a fantasy for me. He represents one end of the continuum with which I live in the world.
What’s at the other end I asked myself as I walked by him today. Being a pastor. That’s what came. Sometimes I think this is where I’ll end up, but I don’t know. It at least represents this end of a continuum where I attack all the difficult realities of the world, find meaning there and share it with others in a public way. To be a leader, to do what’s difficult and painful. To commit. To engage in community.
But other times I want to go to this man’s church. He actually has more community than I do because he’s always with others, talking and building some kind of relationship. I don’t go to any church. I can’t imagine there not being an emptiness in his soul when he leaves church and goes home to nothing and no one. And sometimes, sometimes, this is my fantasy. To lay on the mattress of emptiness and anesthetize myself with the drink.
I see these as the poles of my existence because I would realistically like to live in the middle of these two end points, whatever that looks like.