Sunday, September 14, 2008

into the wild

As I spent some time with God today, I was overwhelmed by my gratitude and overall happiness -- only to be shocked to find myself suddenly worried and anxious that I was going to miss something by my simple contentedness. I still want to go. I still want to travel. I remember the night before I left for YWAM, as I was packing, I thought to myself (in the midst of butterflies that were turning into a painful ache) 'Why do I always want to leave what's comfortable and safe?' There I was, in the peacefulness of my home, about to leave and start something completely unknown. And why? I guess it's childish to want to leave and explore and venture. And my thoughts brought me to Thoreau's famous quote about "sucking the marrow" out of life. I read the beginning of Walden, and found so much of what my heart speaks and didn't even know. Save and except the fact that Thoreau was probably an evolutionist atheist, I believe his searching is fairly true to life. As I read, I think it's become more clear why I have the desire to leave -- my experience at YWAM was hard and uncomfortable, and most importantly, simplistic. And I think that's why I felt so alive, and why it was my own Walden, respectively.

"When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality...children, who play life, discern its true law and relations more clearly than men, who fail to live it worthily, but who think that they are wiser by experience, that is, by failure"

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it..."

- Henry David Thoreau, "Walden", excerpts from chapter 2

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