I’ve been wondering what I should do now that I’m 44 and I know there’s more waiting for me to do but I’m not sure what it is? I got divorced because I wasn’t happy and I didn’t want my kids to see their dad turn into someone who was bitter and blaming.
Even a year after the divorce there is still a voice asking me, “Is this all there is?” Sometimes it nags me with this one: “There’s more you could be doing.” I mean, obviously. The point is what is it I should be doing? And if I find it, will I know because I’ll feel noticeably more happy or content?
Before I can even get to the answers to these questions I need to answer for myself whether or not this is just whining. Or, am I asking because one person can make a difference and my difference will add up?
Last night I was watching “The Return of the King,” with my youngest son and daughter. One of the characters in the movie is Denethor, Steward of Gondor. He has gone mad after learning of the death of his oldest son, Boromir. So, of course, the old man sends his second (and last) son out on a suicide mission to attack a force of orcs ten times the size of Faramir’s group.
Many fine cinematic moments follow. In which the crazed father eats a meal of spurting fruits and vegetables in such a way that blood seems to be flowing down his chin as we are shown scenes of the men of Gondor being slaughtered by the orcs.
Sure, I’m talking about a movie character whose grief affected his every decision. I still wonder how often I am like this: a man in charge of a mythical city in a novel turned into a Hollywood movie who doesn’t know what’s worth fighting for in the middle of the battle of good against evil. My own sadness at leaving their mother asks of me how well will my children do now that I don’t live them.
And beyond my household of one-person-sized problems I know the world is disintegrating faster than it can build itself back up. The climate I grew up with is literally disappearing. This year, even the honeybees are gone from the fields.
The reason for these events which I cannot prove to be causally connected has something to do with the fact that I am part of a country that has acquiesced its thinking to the politically powerful. And that we as citizens have been naïve enough not to remind those who hold an elected office: “you serve at our pleasure.”
You might tell me that one blog won’t do much. For me this is a start to reclaim my interior life and to meet my obligations as a citizen. I’m doing this because I feel a need to make my own life a greater contender in the public arena. Through this exercise I will be a more powerful servant whether in service to my children, the natural world, or my neighbors close by and in towns I have never heard of.