Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Learn something new every day

I am trying to learn something new everyday. Wikipedia is making that easier for me than ever before. The blessing in losing the remote and having the cable cord come undone is that I have been forced to read more and if I watch something, its either a DVD or some sort of instant replay on Netflix. They have a pretty decent selection of documentaries.

The first thing I learned for the day was that there are some beautiful pictures to be had in the hills at Lagoon Valley park. Today was an absolutley beautiful sunny, clear day. I was sans camera again, against my better judgement, and kicked myself the entire time for not being able to capture some of the pictures that I kept finding around every corner. Next time. Really, I'll make a trip just to take pictures next time. I have more animated replays of my hike up steep hills for the first time since my youth, but I'm not feeling like an animator just right now.

Between about 10+ miles of walking/running/hiking in the last 3 days and 1 full day of intense house cleaning, my body is in a revolt against any further movement. So, I spent the earlier part of my evening watching documentaries and stretching my tired muscles.

The first film was War Dance about a group of refugee school children in Northern Uganda who compete in the nation's song and dance competition for 2005. Really, it's a dual story about the power of music and dance even in the face of a culture crippling war. The people Northern Uganda have been long terrorized by Lord's Resistanace Army. This is the same military group that has been accused of the massacres in the Congo. Uganda has been in a civil war for 20 years. 20 years. That's more than entire lifetime for a child. One of the opening lines was "I've heard the sound of gunfire since the day I was born." It only furthers my realization of what tiny little specks we are in this big, big world. It's mind baffling to think of how many people live on this planet. It's even more mind blowing to look at the conditions that people are forced to live in. Children especially. I started having some thoughts about the things that I complain about. My fridge being too big for the kitchen. How about having food on a regular basis? Or not knowing where to put all the extra sheets that were in the closet that I just cleaned out. How about having a bed to sleep in or a house that you're not forced to move from for fear of abduction or being slaughtered by a guerilla army? I can't even begin to imagine that kind of fear. I find it hard to swollow my ingnorance to the harsh reality of the world that my generation lives in. I find it even harder to face the life of excess and gluttony that I've lived in for the last few years.

The other documentary I watched was A Certian Kind of Death. The long and short of it was a story following the lives of three people who died and had no friends or family to claim their estate, oversee their burial wishes, or mourn their loss. It was clinical and stoic but it was not without a human touch. I had to ponder what it must be like to die alone. Then, I couldn't help but wonder what it must be like to live alone. Really alone. Not just estranged from your family or selectively private, but just purely without a soul who cared for you in the world. The most thought-provoking scene was watching the door to the crematorium slide up and the grey shadow of an ashy skull peek through before being shoveled into dust. Really truly, we are ashes to ashes, dust to dust. It made me think about mortality. 60, 70, 80 years...that's nothing. A drop in the bucket. What am I doing to make my life extraordinary? What am I doing to live life abundantly?

If education is power, then I can only hope to do something meaningful with my new bits of knowledge about life in general. I'm trying to be more of a humanitarian in my thinking. I think this is part of my dissatisfaction with my job. It is rare that I feel that I truly did something meaningful and life-changing. I understand the concept and purpose of my job is to serve and protect, but I feel like it's been lost in all the red tape and bereaucracy of small town government. I've always known that this wasn't the job I was going to retire in. I don't know what that job will be some day, but I do know that destiny and I have yet to meet. I can feel it. I was meant to do something entirely different.

I've caught myself making the same statement over the last few months. "I forget that I did that. I totally forgot about that... It seems like I've lived a few different lifetimes already." I think more than lifetimes, what I think I'm seeing come to light is the real, defined chapters in my life so far. Even at my young age of twenty-seven. But then again that's for another blog...

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