Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Great Gatsby

Today I am grateful for simple joys: most especially, the hug I get every night when Jordan comes home.  It's the kind of hug that envelopes me in safety and security, in peace and perfection.  I don't use "perfection" to mean flawless; instead, this "perfection" is wholeness and completeness.  I feel like the areas in which I am lacking can all be made whole because I'm not in this alone.  I have a loving spouse who not only deals with my scratches and my clumsiness, but who uplifts and inspires and reminds me that I am exactly what he wants.  And I have a loving Savior who also chooses not to just let my weaknesses slide by, but who takes me by the hand and promises to patch me up, creating something beautiful out of what I often feel is a ragged mess.  This perfection is what I experience every evening with that hug, and I am beyond-words grateful for such a small and priceless gift.

So I am teaching this great book to my juniors right now, and I have to say, it's going rather well.  And yet I'm noticing, time and time again, just how much of a "Great Gatsby" world I'm living in.  Not many people I associate with are actually that wealthy, and yet they continue to live so extravagantly that you would never guess they have thousands of dollars of debt to pay off.  It's like we're constantly searching for that "green light" in our worlds, and no matter how much we buy, how much we search, how much we turn down, we can never quite seem to reach it.  It's always just a little too far out of reach.

I'm sure I don't understand what some people's green lights are, but I think for all people, it's safe to say that happiness is what we strive for.  With all the technology, all the opportunities, and all the systems of support and encouragement that are out there, you'd think we could find it somewhere.  Really, though, I think the problem with not finding it is that people are looking too much through the fog above the water.  We've set our eyes on something so far away--not out of reach, but still, in someone else's backyard--and we refuse to recognize the fog that should be diverting our eyes to the light in our own yards.  We think, "Oh, it doesn't matter that I can't see the light too clearly.  I'm just going to jump in the water and swim around a while until I get to it."

Seriously?  Now I'm not one to say we ought to "always stay on the safe side; never take a risk."  Certainly not.  But when I look at people missing opportunities on their left and on their right just so they can shoot for the green light that only sinks them in deeper water, I just don't know what to do.  We have light--we have little drops of happiness all over the place.  And still, as a people, we continue to invest time, money, and fruitless energy on searching relentlessly for someone else's "green light."

I share this, not because I think I can change the world, but because I am trying to fight back myself.  I can find happiness in the smallest moments, in the tiniest of joys.  I've been taught this truth over and over again, and I still so often let the world convince me that I will be happy once _________ happens or once I receive ____________ or buy __________.  And so, at least for now, I'm doing my best to stop looking always at the green light through a hazy fog, but at the white light in my yard, whose light is already pouring down on me.

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