No man is an island v2.0

though it comprises upwards of 60% of my name, i really have a problem with the word ‘just’. i think it’s because the word is so often used to compartmentalize our lives in ways that just (haha) aren’t compatible with reality.

it’s just my job.
it’s just food.
it’s just my money.
it’s just church/family/friends.

if life isn’t what you do with your time, what you eat, how you spend your money, or how you relate to others, what is it? lately i’ve been learning over and over again that i can’t tease out and separate the threads of my decisions from the great fabric that is the world/humanity. i’ve been realizing that when i decide what to eat or what to spend my money/time on or how to treat others, whether i’m conscious of it or not, i am making decisions that change the environment around me (and ultimately my soul within me).

as individualistic as we are, i think we hesitate to say that last italicized line above (the one about relationships). in fact we tend to place all of our identity and self worth in how others view us. i’m not sure if i’m going in the right direction here but: what if personal relationships weren’t meant to, and thus are unable to, fill and fulfill our entire beings (i.e. consume and satisfy all the energy we have as people)? let me clarify. i feel that as a result of our compartmentalizing our lives, and idolizing relationships above all else, we tend to discard and place less emphasis on the other areas of our lives. we expect that if we are putting enough patience and energy and understanding into a relationship with, say a best friend or a romantic partner, our lives should go swimmingly; all the while we neglect to put any effort into living harmoniously with our occupation and the rest of the world (and then we wonder why, if we’re doing everything right in “the only thing that really matters”, our lives still kind of suck.)

to put it another way, i think God has bigger plans for us than we do. instead of just (yes JUST) putting all our efforts into being the perfect boyfriend/husband/friend, or being successful, or being a hardcore environmentalist. he wants us (and enables us) to do it ALL (“be perfect,” he said.)

the problem with looking at your job as “just a job”, or your food as “just food” is that those are self-fulfilling prophecies; and they will eventually become mere shells, shadows of what they were meant to be. i really think that people were meant to work with their hands, to be productive and contributing members of society (so that they can live in community). maybe our jobs weren’t meant to be only a means to comfort or security, but a way for us to experience working alongside others towards a common goal and share our lives in a way that’s different from friendships that are purely based on common interests (and for that matter, common birthplace). and to treat a meal as if it was just another thing to do today, instead of experiencing it (pardon me if i sound a bit hippyish) as another link in this crazy system that takes energy from the sun and transforms it into usable energy through plants and bacteria and animals, is a great injustice not only to the creator who planned it all, but to ourselves as well.

—–

    Good Oak

There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.
    To avoid the first danger, one should plant a garden, preferably where there is no grocer to confuse the issue.
    To avoid the second, he should lay a split of good oak on the andirons, preferably where there is no furnace, and let it warm his shins while a February blizzard tosses the trees outside. If one has cut, split, hauled, and piled his own good oak, and let his mind work the while, he will remmeber much about where the heat comes from, and with a wealth of detail denied to those who spend the week end in town astride a radiator.

– excerpt from A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

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~ by justinhong on March 21, 2008.

2 Responses to “No man is an island v2.0”

  1. Discounting the importance of an area of life will lead us to deny that it’s important enough for God to care what we do with it.Eventually it may take us to a stage where we seem to have God in a box.

  2. its funny how quickly the excitement of getting a comment was destroyed by what it said. IM CRYING INSIDE!its okay 😦 i’ll prolly be at haste house afterwards. come play 🙂

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