Can a conversation be a blister? I had one last week that's been festering pus in my brain and I can't get rid of it, except maybe if I blog about it.
Basically: The friend I conversed with (we'll call him "Mr. Man") related the account of his recent journey to a far away island. He went to visit a friend. His friend, he said, is very energized and "spiritual": he played Mr. Man tape after tape of the YOU CAN BE SUCCESSFUL! motivational speech. Mr. Man said he was impressed with the ambitiousness of his friend, a friend that believes you can reap abundance if you just set your mind to it. Mr. Man said he most appreciated that his friend didn't believe in any of that "little self-sacrifice stuff."
I'm 25 years old. I acknowledge my young and inexperienced outlook on life, and I rely on the wisdom of my elders. But Mr. Man is a quarter of a century older than me, and if I understood him correctly (and I hope not) he seems to have missed out on the FUNDAMENTAL premise of life. Does he realize that he would not be where he is today without the self-sacrifice of the people who have entered his life? We could begin with his mother, who sacrificed her own comfort and independence to give birth to him; we could mention his father who worked to feed and cloth and shelter him. We could talk about his friends who celebrate birthdays with him, colleagues who stay late to help him finish projects, children who smother him with hugs and hours of joy, a wife who gave up a career to be a lover and mother, and a God who, unable to stand the thought of being eternally separated from him, gave his son's life for him.
If all of humanity could open their eyes, look past their pursuit of greedy pleasure and see the vitality of life that streams from self-sacrifice, we wouldn't see discomfort. We wouldn't lose the race. We would get a glimpse of the incarnated ideal we once had, the sensuous garden that haunts our dreams no matter how many thousands of years separate us from it.
We would see that to lose our life is to save it.