Update on being Here
A few weeks ago, as people were preparing to embark on Thanksgiving break, there was a lot of talk of “here.”
I hate it here.
Here lies my motivation to do schoolwork.
I don’t want to be here (in the unpleasant Nebraska wind) anymore.
We haven’t been very fond of “here” lately.
I (and maybe you too) have a tendency to think that the goodness I want in life is just outside of the bounds of Here. That if I just moved There or was There in my relationship with that person or if I got a job There, then There will become my Here and finally, I would be at peace.
When we believe that we are prone to the circumstances of Here, that we are mercilessly thrown from one place that is not quite where we want to be to another that is not quite where we want to be, life can feel helpless – joyless even.
Things can have a tendency to feel either maddeningly controlled or impossibly out of our control, leaving us feeling usually tired.
This theme of fatigue appears in a commencement speech given by author David Foster Wallace in 2005. Throughout the speech, he acknowledges the difficult truth that a large portion of our life is uninteresting, but there is a way we can make it worthwhile.
“It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same thing that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.”
I’ve seen that fire before. For me, it typically comes during Events Engineered to Ponder Life, otherwise known as weddings, funerals, graduations, and confirmations.The connectedness of my life to what the people in my life have done on the behalf of my well-being in Here, makes the physical Here, for just a second, seem sacred.
The difference between those moments and all the other mundane life moments is perhaps, the physical environment.
But maybe it is recognizing the work and the changes, and the sacrifices people had to make only for us to be Here, in both senses of the word.
Or maybe it’s recognizing the amazingly improbable combination of events that led to your existence.
Or maybe it's the people in your life, either the ones who have always been friends and family or the ones who became friends and family along the way.
Or maybe it’s the blueness of the sky, the fatness of the squirrels, and the thingness of all the things we see every day, but maybe have taken for granted.
Here is fleeting. We may often return to the same places, but we are constantly changing. So, whatever it is that makes your Here good and beautiful and sacred, find it and hold onto it.
And see if you can use it to make your Here a good one. It’s all we can do.