When you finally start to figure things out…

My father lamented to me, a couple years before he died, how frustrating it was that he was just starting to figure things out and now he was too sick/old to do anything with it.  He died of cancer at the age of 63, which in my mind was about 40 years too young.  He was barely into middle age as I see things.

I was reminded of his lament recently as I go about my own life, trying to figure things out, to grapple with the complexities and responsibilities of my life, and the lives that I have a direct impact on.  I laugh easier, but worry a little more.  I treasure moments with my friends and family even as I try to organize my life better to make more of them.  I spend more time photographing things as I realize how much of my previous years exist only in my head.

As my children grow older, I spend more time trying to be a good parent and role model, which is difficult when I stare into the face of my many shortcomings.  I have heard it said many times that most parents just want to give their children a better life than they had.  I don’t know if that is exactly accurate in my case, but I certainly want them to have a different childhood.  To that end, I certainly hope I am succeeding.  I want them to laugh more, love more, enjoy more than I did- and hopefully, never need to experience why I would want that for them.

All of this reflection has been tied into a conflict I have with my organized faith.  I say organized because my personal faith and my organized faith are not always in sync.  I suspect many people can admit to this.  In this particular conflict, I find myself taking issue with the common concept that, as a Christian, we are not to be of this world.  I find that this directive lacks immediate responsibility, and possesses a certain Puritan starkness that is counter to my nature.  What we do in this world matters in the next, but I don’t think we should view it simply in the context of rewards in the next life.  I’m going to stop here, for now.

By Dan Granot

I chose the Shorter Whitman because of his work, "Song of Myself" and because of my self-deprecating sense of humor. I am under no illusion that I can write successful essays or poetry, but I have been known to write them anyway.

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