JUST BEFORE MIDNIGHT ON A RANDOM FRIDAY EVENING
January 15, 2011 § 2 Comments
I made the title of today’s (or tonight’s) column Just Before Midnight On A Random Friday Evening, but nothing could be further from the truth.
It just so happens that any single moment of our lives can carry as much importance as we wish to give it. We’ve all heard the cliche, “live as if each moment were your last”, but if that were the case we’d have to cope with the whole spectrum of behaviour inherent in such a state: people throwing up their arms on crowded subways and announcing their homosexuality, others running naked through populous shopping malls, our best friends tearfully confessing all their complicated, unexpressed thoughts. The list of startling and often unwelcome confessional paroxysms of honesty and emotional release that would take place would be infinite.
I speak not of those, for they are moments created by an outside reality that might force itself upon us. Rather, what is it to endow a moment with importance that no one will ever see, or experience? What about late on a Friday night when no one’s watching, when we are alone with our thoughts ,feelings, impulses, old habits battling new?
What has meaning in moments like these? Surely this is the burden of the modern human- we no longer take great pilgrimages together, we don’t spend every moment of our lives in a tribe, our minds taken up with the service of others, survival, procreation. Now many of us live in isolation, and as a result it can sometimes be difficult to discover a point of connection, something to do, something to live for. So we seek distraction and, if we’re considered ‘fortunate’, we won’t have to face the void again for another few nights, or weeks, months or years. But it returns.
Until we realize that there are certain inalienable elements inside us that do have meaning, and it is our nourishment, nurturance of those things, lodged in our spirit, that fills the void. Silent, gentle, passionate devotion.
All is quiet here right now. My girlfriend is sleeping in the bedroom; she went to bed earlier, not feeling well. I am left here, not wanting to face the feeling of wanting to run from my work, flee from the promises I’d made to myself related to moments like these, when creativity and expansion come calling; would I go back to old habits to avoid their voices, drown them out in my own special ways (after all, we all have our own devices to distract ourselves from what has meaning in a given second)?
No. Because I made a promise to myself. To my girlfriend. At this hour, when no one’s watching, the part of me that wants to run back into the cave, away from the reality of the present and who I am in that reality, tells me that it won’t hurt anyone if I deviate from the path, just this once.
But it will hurt. It’ll hurt me. Yes, tomorrow I would get up, literally and figuratively, and keep going, but why choose to stumble when I am so willing and able to walk freely and easily?
As I become aware of the potentiality of the meaning of this moment, just before midnight on a ‘random’ Friday night, I choose forward movement over stasis.
We can feel so isolated, lost, empty. Yet one single step can bring us back to the campfire.