Wednesday, June 16, 2010

nap time

I am tired.

Tired of pretending to know myself and what I truly feel. Tired of the urge to express my beliefs. Tired of the need for certainty. It's time to surrender.
Rather, it's time again.

Because I've been down this road before. Years ago. My pursuit of knowledge, facticity, and rationally deciphered rightness was so intense, so riled and throbbing, that I almost lost my mind. For a while, madness, I decided, was a fair trade for substantial Truth; but the nearer I came to raving, the more definite, the more ultimate the madness promised to be. So, I surrendered. Sought peace and stability. Sought patience and tolerance. Forswore my need to know for sure. I swallowed the words for a while and simply hummed--a tuneful, intentional reticence. And for a while, it was enough.

But the call returned, starting softly, distantly, so as not to spook me. Then it grew louder and I succumbed. Once again, it seemed important, no, necessary to know myself. How can I write, if I don't know even myself? How to be honest in poetry or how to be inventive in fiction without a touchstone solid enough to touch, to spring from?

Or, never mind writing because a lie is as good as a truth on paper, but what of those weightier epistemological concerns? What of God and goodness and the rights of man? Now consider psyche. What of the will to live--whether in its paucity or in its surfeit? What of the temptation to quit fighting, to quit the sense of obligation to courage? Because courage why? Because it's prettier than fear? Because more books are about courageous folks than about cowards?

It takes a restructuring of the mind to come to terms with surrender. To pull it off, one needs determination and that doesn't jive well with forfeit. It seems counter-productive, but as I see it, letting go is one of the bravest acts one can commit. It's not, after all, just quitting with a humph and hunch and sliding to the floor against the wall one's up against. No, it requires grace. And if one surrenders with grace, then one survives the act. He is then free to turn his back to the wall and wander somewhere less tiring, somewhere less certain, somewhere more likely to foster peace.

So goodbye to perfect understanding, swell-riddance to certainty. I'll leave their discovery to some more stalwart soul. Perhaps this time I'll stand my ground, feet rooted in mid-air, vehicled by the breeze.

Because I am tired.

That much is true.


  1. hm. Have you read G. K. Chesterton's "Orthodoxy"? I would recommend that book over any number of poetry books.

    And his "The Man Who was Thursday," which is possibly the most fantastic novel in the English language.

  2. I have not read that book but will take it under advisement.

    As for the most fantastic novel in English, how could I have missed it? A novel is something I can make time for.


  3. I love this post, and can, and have, and will relate to it. I believe you have put accurate words to such an action too difficult to describe. Yet, I am strangely encouraged by the "ability" to surrender.