Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I Knew a Man

“I’ve had enough of living,
I’ve had enough of dying,
I’ve had enough of smiling,
And acting like I’m tough.”

Pete Townshend – I’ve Had Enough

I knew a man.  He was a good man, but he was, like many of us, a damaged man.   He also was, like many of us, a talented man.  But, for whatever reason, he did not pursue his talent, his love, with his whole heart.  Perhaps his obligations made him believe he didn’t have the time.  Perhaps he didn’t get the support he wanted or felt he needed.  Perhaps he thought he didn’t have enough talent.  Perhaps he had had too much pain in his life and he couldn’t focus on anything else.  Perhaps he equated success with money and if he couldn’t make money from his talent, he thought it wasn’t worth pursuing. 
This may be judgmental and unfair, but I believe this man gave up because it got too hard.  He also gave up because he had neither a vision nor a plan.  First, one needs a vision, a visualization, a picture in the head of how something may look.  It may change over time, but something needs to be there in the beginning.  Then a plan is needed.  The more specific, concrete, and quantifiable the plan is, the greater the chance there is for success.  A vision without a plan is pointless.  So is a plan without a vision.  Eventually, even though he tried in fits and starts, he never lasted long because he didn’t know what he was doing or why he was doing it.
What he needed was a crisis, a grand crisis.  I don’t mean the ordinary events of life, such as sick kids or job problems or relationship troubles; I mean something huge, something so overwhelming it would make him sick and miserable and despairing of life.  Then there would come a moment when he would have to make a change or live out his life complaining and wondering and shutting off his heart from the world.  He would have to make a change or he would die, spiritually, emotionally, and perhaps literally.  His own misery would slowly kill him.
I knew a man.
This man was me.
But I am very fortunate.  I faced a grand crisis and I decided I had had enough of complaining and wondering and shutting my heart off from the world.  I had enough of dying.  And for a reason I will never understand I was greatly blessed with two huge advantages.  First, I had a Muse who loved me and would not let me settle for anything less than my best.  Second, I was blessed with the common sense to listen after too many years.
This man (or woman) is also you.  He or she is all of us who have not yet pursued their calling, who have not yet created a vision or a plan, who have not yet been able to Get Started and Keep Going.  That man or woman is you.  But it doesn’t have to be.