Thursday, April 29, 2010

Planting Seeds Under Fluorescent Lights

I am running data—for the fourth time—bored out of my mind. Stare at the screen; wait for the numbers to reach 100; check the results—and repeat. This is not what I dreamt of doing with my life. It still isn't. Somewhere beyond the gray skies and fluorescent suns of this box that is my current vocation is a life of purpose and meaning. Or perhaps it is in that box: finding little ways to knock metaphorical windows in a building that has only one of the physical variety. Maybe purpose is not something that awaits discovery; maybe it is found instead in devotion to excellence and doing work well, wherever we are. Maybe dream jobs are as mythical as their name implies. Maybe I would still have days of boredom and frustration were I doing exactly what I think would bring me fulfillment.

God has made us uniquely, called us peculiarly, and shaped us strangely (so to speak). The deep-seated discontent that sometimes rustles under a bed of fall leaves, sometimes threatens to shake our walls down entirely, is a good thing. We would accomplish little, and strive for nothing, if we were always content to simply drift along with the ocean of humanity surrounding us. As a definition for our days, however, discontent fails quite pathetically. What it begins it has not the power to finish. Fires burn on oxygen and wood, not a continuous supply of sparks. If we are to meaningful lives, we will have to find purposes that are deeper and truer than a persistent unhappiness. Sojourners we may be, but we are in this land until the days of our journey are finished.

God is enough, I remind myself. He satisfies like nothing else: not work, not friendship, not food, not sunsets, not sex, not music, not marriage, not anything under the sun. This gray box can rot, or it can flourish. Perhaps my purpose, for now, is simply to nudge it toward greenery in human form. Black text on a white terminal window: the process advances to 23%.

God is enough.

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