This fits into our chosen lifestyle I think. I've heard it claimed that what we do, how we do it, why we do it is escapism, diversion, shallow... a hollow replacement for life... to which I've always been amazed, but couldn't quite string all the ideas together as to just why...
Then a couple of months ago, a seemingly unrelated story unfolded and it all came clear to me... I let it percolate for a while to make sure that I had it straight in my own head and here it is.
Now... there's a spot or two in this lil' sermon where I don't pull my punches but little. If you're thin skinned... you might want to go shopping instead.
Do you read George and Tioga? He'd been pretty down, sinking awful low. He said something in there that started pokin' at me like a burr trapped under a saddle blanket. It's a fairly common story I think and it just kept pestering me and workin' in my head. There was something floating in there for a bit was just out of reach.
Then one afternoon what was wrong with this common story, and how it fit into this life of mine finally clicked into clarity.
George described the things that make him happy these days as being only distractions to divert his mind from the sadness and hollowness that had grown in his life. He also quoted an interview of Woody Allen where Woody also talked about people using Art to distract themselves from the emptiness of life...
Seriously? Distractions? Diversions? Listen folks, maybe I'm being a lil' hard shelled here... but it's time to Cowboy Up and push all that nonsense aside. I don't mean to hurt feelings here but sometimes you have to break a few eggs... you know?
To label the experiences that inject joy into life... as "distractions"... is to me, somehow... denigrating the treasures of life. Whether it is self inflicted or the result of emotional fatigue it remains basically a blindness of the spirit. But a blindness for which their can be no excuses.
I've struggled too hard for too long... I've seen precious friends struggle too hard hanging on to life with all their strength and still losing it... to see their fights and effort denigrated as... Distractions. That's an insidious, hurtful and wholly unacceptable idea; and one more easily avoided than cut out once it's taken root.
It is the definition of self pity. Yes... there is a time you have a right to embrace those sorrows and pity yourself. But then the sun comes up again and it's time to stop your crying and stand up. People... trust me... I've been there. I've done that. I've wallowed in the self pity and the agony of great loss...
But then, at some point you have to make a choice. Yes it's cold but I'm impatient with self pity. Die and get the hell out of the way and disgrace those you lost... or stand up and Honor those lost, Honor yourself... and Get on with living.
Listen... what does a doctor do when he's cleaning out an infected or dirty wound? Think about it. He flushes that wound. He irrigates it. He forces the junk out so that only clean and healthy flesh remains to heal. He leaves no space for infection. He creates a clean void in which to heal.
Put that idea into this conversation. Your mind and your soul are wounded. The cure is to flush that pain out of your heart. Fill your eyes and your mind and your spirit with beauty, music, joys and laughter. Leave no space for the unwanted and unavoidable sadness and pain that slams into us all.
This is not distraction. It is not "busy work" to use up your minds time. Hell, it's the purpose of life. It is called Healing. It's called living for those who could not! It's often called being worthy of the gift that they earned for you with the happiness their life gave to yours.
What greater purpose can there be than to seek out and find the things that make each day worthwhile? To seek out laughter, fulfillment, creativity, love, challenge... to find those things that make you smile is not somehow of less value than the pain you are forcing out. Those pleasures are THE value to replace the pain with. They are the strong and healthy new life created to heal the wounds and sorrows.
To belittle them as distractions, is to me, incomprehensible.
If your heart and your mind are suffering; If you look around and see an emptiness, if you are enduring a hollowness from some grievous loss... it is wrong to look at those things that bring a smile to your face or fulfillment to your heart as "distractions" or even worse, to feel guilty about taking those actions.
If you were bed ridden from some accident or illness and your muscles were atrophied from disuse you have to get up and walk to restore them.
Likewise, if your heart and soul carry a dark void from some great loss... You have to search out the people and life that dispel the darkness and fills the void with new light.
Damn people! To sit around feeling sorry for your situation and your loneliness and sink ever farther into your sorrow... while the tools, assets, abilities and life to refill that emptiness with joyful activity, creativity and experiences surrounds you... is to deny the purpose and value of life...
How can I say this nicely? ... That is Bull Shit!
Get out and Live! Cowboy Up! No damned excuses.