I just can’t keep up with this life. The whole thing moves way too fast for me, and now everything comes apart at the damn seams. I once had a routine to living, until I quickly realized the ridiculousness of routine which soon led me to realize the absurdity of inconsistency. There is so much to do and hardly any time at all. A giant Big Ben weighs down upon me, each step I take, the louder the ticking. I shutter and try to escape but it’s impossible. There’s no evading its all encompassing pressure. Everything is a race, a race to death, and must be completed in the allotted “time.” So where is the freedom we speak of then? The answer: an incremental process.
With each to-do list comes more things. Is this really how life is supposed to be? There’s no possible way. Who else struggles with these daily questions? Please, speak up; help me know I’m not alone here. That I haven’t gone mad. Don’t you realize it? We’re all like mindless puppets in this world’s game. Some of us supposedly “have it all together” but maybe those are just the people who have grown content and comfortable to their slavery. While everyone is just immersed in the world, I can’t help but ask the deeper question, and take a step back and just observe it from a distance. Some of us dare to do this, and we call them “crazy” but maybe the crazies are actually their accusers. Some people will never take that step back and look at everything from a heightened perspective. Some people will. From up there, the truth is exposed, and the truth is a frighteningly sorrowful and paradoxically wonderful. The more wisdom – the more sorrow… yet also – liberation. Wouldn’t you rather know the truth than live a lie? Even if it was a very comfortable, pleasurable lie, I would much rather know the truth, because the truth, is freeing, and that is what I have found in Jesus. So even when I feel like this is all so crazy and mixed up and meaningless, when “The Bell Jar” as descending upon me, when it feels like every molecule is about to become undone, there’s freedom. No coincidence today is the day I read a sentence that I try so often to live, but I just needed it uttered today, to bring me back to sanity. (a sanity that “you” might call insanity)
“”I only get one go around [at this life] and why the hell not let my heart and soul do the navigating.”
Sally, of course. The unbeknown star of my literary world. No coincidence that it came from her, nor that I begin writing this post the weekend I have set aside to explore a place I’ve longed to investigate since I heard about it, a personal pilgrimage of mine – the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia. My mind is constantly plagued with deep, piercing, existential questions. Life finally caught up with me and I just stopped for a second, stepped out of the ‘immersion’ and took a look around and just said, “This can’t be it. There’s just no way.” Everything is run on this clock. A meeting to help map out my future with my major, everything can only last so many minutes before time is up, next person. We limit ourselves constantly. If you want to follow your dreams and passions and study what you want, you have to first go through years and years of red tape, stagger to build upon your weakness, suppress your strengths some more, put that story on the back burner one more year so you can get done a bunch of meaningless red tape, another obstacle that stands in your way. In all honesty, I’m tired of it. We only get one go around right?
I have all these creative ideas, stories that I long to write, but I’m so caught up in “the race.” The Meaningless Race. How do you get out of that? The answer is only a perspective away; I just need to get in that perspective. The book will be written Josh. And don’t worry so much about having not met her yet, She will arrive on the scene at the perfect timing. Patience. Patience. Patience. Character. Character. Character………………………………………………
Maybe irrationality is rational.
If you want to see the real insane, you need only to look in a mirror. We’re all the same you see. The heroin addict and the President. The CEO and the writer. The homeless man and the wealthiest man. Who has it worse? Who is the real monster? Freedom is all a matter of perspective. I just finished reading an incredible book, “Down and Out on Murder Mile.” The author, Tony O’Neill, really helped me reevaluate life and how I see other people. He finished his novel/memoir with these words:
“The train keeps moving.
I keep moving too.
I loved that. Will I ever be fit for a regimented life or job? So many of us are going to college to pursue a career, how many are pursuing their passions? How many think their passions are suppressed? How many are actually doing what they absolutely love and are gifted at? How many trust with gracious uncertainty that it will work out if they let their heart and soul navigate…?
What if everyone sees through a filter? We do in a sense, am I right? What we perceive as vision, shapes, colors, is only what we see out of our two tiny pupils. There is more there, but we see only so much. For example, we don’t see every molecule in a chair, but we do see the chair. So we see through filters. What if someone’s filter was cracked a bit? Or completely shattered? We’d detain the liberated and deem them as mad. How do we know people with schizophrenia or déjà vu, or various mental illnesses, aren’t the sane ones? Just like a million people living deep inside a cave for thousands of years and one stumbles outside and sees the world above, he goes and tells the others and they call him crazy.
People with ‘supposed’ mental illness have enriched my life so much because they have dared to take their minds places the so called sane, would never go. They ask questions that others don’t. Aren’t we all a little mentally ill? How do you define it? Where do you draw the line between the sane and the insane? When I read Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar” I couldn’t help but identify with this main character Esther Greenwood. To me, she made so much sense, and I recalled feeling and perceiving the way she did in some instances. Don’t worry about me, I’m not going to stick my head in an oven, but I wouldn’t deem Sylvia as insane. Rather, I’d say maybe she just saw an aspect of reality that the rest of us hadn’t, or choose not to. She did ask the question, “Can you ever find your way out of your own mind?” One scene in the book stands out to me, when Esther returns from New York; she has been sleeping for days in her bedroom in the suburbs of Boston. She doesn’t care about hygiene because she doesn’t see the point in getting herself together only to have to do it again and again the next day and the next. She was looking for something permanent. Everyone knows I’m a rather clean person, and I wouldn’t be like that ever, but I couldn’t help identify with her point. Then she said, she saw all of her days as tiny white squares, like on a calendar, and a small sliver of black in-between each square representing the night. Soon those slivers disappeared and all her days ran together and there was nothing separating the boxes. This mental image intrigued me so much. That looks a lot like eternity to me. If any book has spoken the most to me about life, I would have to say it is the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. Those twelve chapters have been my favorite because those existential questions are asked.
A great man with a supposed mental illness said it best, “Surely God would not have created such a being as man, with an ability to grasp the infinite, to exist only for a day! No, no, man was made for immortality.”
– Abraham Lincoln
I think we live in a world of insane people, and maybe we could learn a little something from the people we write off as having ‘gone mad.’ That’s why I just had to go this weekend. Call me crazy…
“All that we see or seem,
is but a dream within a dream” – Edgar Allen Poe