Symbols (Part 2)

There are a lot of lies. Hundreds I'm sure, but one has really been getting my attention recently. I've been catching it in my peripheral vision when it thinks I'm not looking. It gets more confident when I'm bored or lazy and I always forget that I've realized that its a lie when I stop looking at it. Thats why tonight, I'm writing it down.

This morning when I woke up, it was raining. I listened to it softly fall on the roof and skim the windows and watched the formless gray clouds through a crack in the shutters. I spent the day inside and distracted myself with anything and everything. This evening, I realized I had not been outside yet, so I put on my shoes and took a walk around the block. The sky was shockingly and beautifully clear and the few stars that I can see from my California view stared steadily back at me.

When I started to walk and think and look up at the clear night sky, I was feeling a little smaller than I usually do when I ponder the epic cosmos. I felt utterly useless. I had spent the day in front of the TV, watching life on a stage. I was frustrated. Is this what I am supposed to do now? Now that I am grown up and have put all the childish dreams and imaginations behind me? Is my job now to live vicariously through the things I see and hear and have the illusion of contributing to society and engaging in life? Am I investing in things that have no bearing on the grand scheme of life and expecting them to fill the need of being a part of something real? The questions started to come fast and things that I'd been feeling for a long time suddenly tumbled out; things I never knew how to say.

It has been easier for me for a long time to be distracted by life, rather than engage in it. Facebook, video games, TV, movies, Twitter, the list went on and on. They were the symbols of the things that I was really supposed to be engaging in: relationships, adventures, conversations, debate. Suddenly it was not so strange that I felt empty when I put the symbol in place of the real thing. And that is the lie: the symbol is more important than the real thing.

No wonder it felt hollow trying to be satisfied with things that were never built to satisfy. They are distractions and symbols and signposts and practice and lessons, but they will never take the place of real life, no more than a smile will take the place of joy.


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