PERSONAL FILE: Fences

FencesSince my family has always lived on a significant amount of land (at least by a city person’s standards), there was a lot for me to explore. Unlike other ranchers, who often clear their land of trees for pasture, my family has always left the woods intact. Whether that choice was influenced more by lack of desire or lack of equipment is open to interpretation but, at any rate, I’m deeply grateful for the woods. Open, clear land seemed really boring and unromantic to me; nothing like the woods, which were full of little hidden places that could only be found by the diligent wanderer.

Even at twenty-two and looking ever dapper in rubber boots and gym shorts, I still trudge off into the river bottom from time to time armed only with a walking stick and my dogs to keep me company. When I was younger and the ranch was smaller, I’d be disappointed when I encountered a fence. Fences meant the land beyond was owned by someone else and that I could go no further in that direction, lest I draw the ire of our neighbors—or (no joke) stumble into one of their piano wire booby traps. Continue reading

Life is Not a Journey: Can We Stop Calling It That?

Sometimes, we view our lives as a quest. Is that really accurate? (Photo: Public Domain)

How often do you think of your life as a sort of quest or journey? Perhaps over the course of this “journey,” you make some profound discovery about who you are. Maybe you “find” love. Then, later, maybe you “lose” it. It might even be that you envision your moment of death as one of existential fulfillment when, as you draw your final breath on the Earth, you think–maybe even whisper dramatically–that you’ve done everything you were “supposed” to do.

Yeah, that only happens in the movies, I’m happy to say. Life might be a lot of things, but it is anything but a journey.

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A “Literary Sensibility” Sounds About Right

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“‘Living in the moment’ encapsulates a concept that is better articulated by saying that people should live according to a literary sensibility. A literary sensibility approaches life with an eye, ear and heart turned toward creating meaningful and memorable stories. Life is therefore judged by its amount of great stories, and those stories are not made great because they end well. In fact, many of them may not have a satisfactory ending, but they possess something that is instructive or inspiring. They are life-enriching and life-affirming. They don’t trivialize life by relegating it to mere accounting, voting, winning or losing. They remove life from the worrying, planning, speculating and fearing. They return life to the living.
 
A literary sensibility is what, I believe, Jesus Christ was advocating when He said, “Take no thought for the morrow.” He wasn’t recommending apathy, but was expressing the freedom that is possible when surrendering to the divine plan and will. God’s higher order makes a lifestyle that embraces jubilation or catastrophe of the emotional moment possible. Jesus accepted Mary’s gift of the ointment, despite Judas’ larger, long-term concerns. Jesus wept for His friend, despite knowing that He was God.”

David Masciotra

Read the full piece here.