Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Life of Comfort

After reading the blog of a kindred spirit and phenomenal woman, and thinking on the topic of comfort for weeks now, I decided to finally get it out of my mind and on . . . paper. . . this screen, that is.

As I watch many of my friends happily settle in to the life of comfort, I find myself wondering why it is that I find this type of life so unattractive. I mean, let's face it, life would be much easier if all I wanted was a husband to love on, a house to make it in, and kids to carry my love forward long after I am gone. My mom half jokingly laments that I don't have these simple goals. She reminds me that if it were so, she wouldn't have to worry about me in dangerous places or not having an income and all those other stabilities; she could just hop in her air conditioned, cushioned vehicle, drive to the neighboring town, help me raise my children, and grow old with me. We could live in a bubble, happily ever after. I understand the appeal and perhaps could have succumbed to it, but I got a taste of all that could be. Life could be bigger than any adjectives in my vocabulary . . . if I were willing to give up comfort and ease.

I have to help make the world a better place and won't rest until I feel like I've given it all I can. Yes, it's a goal that, in the strictest sense, will end in "failure," because the world will never change. No matter how hard I fight, there will always be poverty, war, death, genocide, corruption, greed, natural disasters and rape. So then, as some people ask, what's the point? Why not just realize the fruitlessness of these goals and live for a family? Raise a family well and live in peace. A life of peace and comfort.

Because the best kind of peace is hard earned. The best kind of peace, the kind that lets your soul finally rest, follows hard, long battles. Comfort can't be appreciated until you've gone so long without it you've forgotten how it feels. Because I feel most alive when I have no idea what awaits me and I have to think on my feet. When every day is a challenge, I constantly grow. I am a permanent child, filled with exuberance for life, in anticipation of what is next because there is always a next. There is always a curve ahead when you push limits. When you welcome, even look forward to struggle, life is one long adventure. Life is learning, continually expanding. Because there is no glorious height like knowing you have accomplished something you previously thought impossible.

Because life is so big, so huge, and now that I know, I can't live just one little shred of it.

Climb a mountain, jump out of a plane, run a marathon, fight a war, bike across the country, sail around the world, sell the clutter in your house and build an orphanage, struggle for a noble cause, turn your creativity into an art or business, turn dreams into reality, do whatever they tell you is impossible . . . and feel the burn of being truly alive. I have my doubts as to whether a life of routine and comfort can make my body and soul ache with so much life.

I once read that there are two types of people in this world. Most people live their life in the gray - life is not really great but it's also not really bad. There aren't any horribly painful moments, but there also aren't any blissfully happy ones. They live on a certain level and never depart from the track. Then there are those who choose to open themselves fully to the bad and the good, to all the depths each direction can take them. They don't shy away from awful pain because they know it will be followed by dizzying heights. They live in black and white.

I opt for the lifestyle that sends ripples through my soul. The closest to God I can feel on earth - whether it's on my knees in pain, or crying from joy. I want to be repeatedly shaken by life. I don't want to have to drink to feel high. I want life's experiences to make me tingle inside.

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