Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Adventure and Vanity

“It was when I was happiest that I longed most. It was on happy days when we were up there on the hills, the three of us, with the wind and the sunshine…where you couldn’t see Glome or the palace. Do you remember? The colour and the smell, and looking across at the Grey Mountain in the distance? And because it was so beautiful, it set me longing, always longing. Somewhere else there must be more of it. Everything seemed to be saying, Psyche come! But I couldn’t (not yet) come and I didn’t know where I was to come to. I almost hurt me. I felt like a bird in a cage when the other birds of its kind are flying home.”
Psyche speaking to Orual
C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

I often find myself longing for adventure. I’m in a world that demands structure and the existential side of me cries to break free. I structure myself because it is for a purpose, but at times I don’t want purpose. I just want to live. I want to experience. I’m not content with looking at my proverbial mountains from inside a window or reading about them in a book. I want to climb them (I often want to climb actual mountains too because it seems like the typical adventure).

This sometimes creates a conflict in my desires. When my mind gets filled with romantic ideas the business attire that I usually wear seems insufficient to climb the mountains I have in my sights. Then when those I care about see me in my business suit, they get the sense that I am not along for the adventure like they are. This creates a problem because I am drawn to people who are adventurous. I usually fall for girls who long for adventure. They end up seeing the guys who are careless and free. I feel left to take care of the task at hand.

I found myself recently growing jealous of the mentality that others harbor and began growing discontent with where I am. I thought of how I don’t want to place myself in miserable conditions as a missionary. I want to be free. I want to do great things with my life. I want to live in such a way that if someone were to write a book about my life it would be worth reading. I would live with no regrets.

Then I was reminded of a concept called purpose. I asked myself, “What is true freedom?” Should freedom be the aim? A forest fire is free, yet it leaves destruction and devastation in its path. Is a forest fire free if it can’t even control itself? It is driven by the winds.

True freedom seems more like a concert pianist. The pianist has to live a disciplined and focused life in order to play the way s/he does, often neglecting immediate desires. However, when the trained pianist steps up to play, no one is freer on the piano.

If I didn’t have purpose I would be free to do more of what I desire when I desire it. But, if I didn’t have purpose would I truly be free? The reason I live life the way that I do is based completely on the hope that Jesus Christ is resurrected and that He is Lord. If Christ isn’t resurrected, not seeking after the pleasures and desires of my heart would make me a coward. On the other hand, if Christ is resurrected, life is found in Him and to seek anything else is loss. To seek anything else would be a life without purpose; moving and devouring where the wind blows it.

Is it wrong for me to live a life of adventure? No. Living for Christ has been a greater adventure than I could have found myself. God is the creator of adventure. Does it not seem like our longing for that ‘something more’ in life is a longing for God, the fulfiller of all emptiness. So I will set sails on my adventure. It is one with a purpose. It is a life lived for Christ. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.

1 comment:

  1. This post, among many other things, calls to mind the incredible pianist, Vladimir Horowitz. The freedom that can be achieved through discipline is the most rewarding. You can handle this season, and will love the next.

    Enjoy this video... Horowitz is my favorite pianist to watch play. He is absolutely phenomenal.