Earth Appeal

wealth_appeal_jenoms_musings
capitalandmain

I drive the latest Porsche, own a pricey home in the choicest of neighbourhoods. Forbes acknowledges me – my influence is unmistakable, many charities and mission efforts are funded by me. I have more than I can spend. Wow!

This is a sneak peek into my world of fantasy. Impressive and enviable right.

But is that all there is to life? Wealth? Fame? Influence? Luxury?

Wealth is very beneficial; Fame and influence open doors and create opportunities; living in luxury is admirable. Problem arises if they are the object of our undivided attention. When you are defined by them, you are set on a collision course with disaster.

Silver and gold appeal
Wealth and riches are real
But they really do not heal.

Luxury is hard to appease
It reels you in, after a tease
Finishing with smooth ease.

Prosperous? Careful, you may keel,
Your aim, strikes your heel,
Till you in defeat, kneel.

Like home, earth will become.
Yet your life, really is lonesome,
Empty, pointless, and burdensome!

C. S. Lewis puts it more succinctly in one of his classics, The Screwtape Letters:

‘Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is ‘finding his place in it’, while really it is finding its place in him. His increasing reputation, his widening circle of acquaintances, his sense of importance, the growing pressure of absorbing and agreeable work, build up in him a sense of being really at home in earth. You will notice that the young are generally less unwilling to die than the middle-aged and the old.’

Sobering right? And also familiar. Most people, if not all, can identify with the human condition described above, albeit in varying degrees.

C. S. Lewis is so right, it seems his analysis is a prediction for today, rather than a description of the human nature as seen six decades ago.

I wonder, how much of the world have I allowed to seep into my life? What imprint have I made  on the world?

Can life be meaningful? What gives life meaning? Please share your thoughts.

My Stress Indicators

Photo Credit: Olivier Le Moal
Photo Credit: Olivier Le Moal

A fortnight ago, I felt like a flower hanging limp in a vase; like George Orwell’s Boxer in Animal Farm, when he succumbed to exhaustion. I exerted my body to a new high of stress.

As I approach my mid-thirties, chief among the things that drain my energy are work and interpersonal issues. There are indicators in my life that let me in on when I am losing control and setting the stage for stress to set in and build up. These tell-tale signs include:

  • Neglected nails. My nails, especially my toenails show the promise of becoming talons, because I hardly find time to clip them. Dirt under my fingernails and holes in my socks are what I have to show for this.
  • Taking work home. Especially when I fail to inform Njeb, my wife, as we both agreed, before doing so.
  • Unrealized reading, writing and blogging goals. The habits of reading, writing and blogging are gradually stifled by ‘the tyranny of the urgent’. Books are waiting to be finished or started, writing and blogging ideas abound, but the ‘right moment’ always slips by. If you noticed my last blog post was, ‘Hearing Between the Lines’ on August 26, 2014.
  • Insufficient sleep. I sleep late, and predictably, past my wake up time, 5 a.m. Even when I manage to wake up by that time, I fight the, more often than not, futile battle of getting out of bed.
  • Failure to keep daily, morning appointments with God. Though my spirit is willing, my body is weak). My excitement to read the Bible and pray wanes. This is my most critical indicator.
  • Morning workout becomes irregular and the discipline difficult to sustain. Currently, with a 24.9 Body Mass Index (BMI), I am on the borderline between normal and slightly overweight. An improvement from seven weeks ago, when I was slightly overweight.
  • A growing and nagging feeling of emptiness and failure that is impossible to shrug off or ignore. At this stage I feel like a busy bee, buzzing from flower to flower tapping nectar, but no honey in the honeycomb to show for my buzzyness, sorry busyness.

Fortunately, I recognize these signs. I appreciate them. They may be unpleasant but I am the wiser because of them. They are God’s pointers, to the reality that my life is out of sync and a quick intervention is needed. They remind me I am human and need God’s help to live effectively and fruitfully.
Bottom line: With me in charge, living becomes arduous, but with God at the helm, living, in spite of life’s uncertainties, is joyous.

What are your stress indicators?