Leaning Forward

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What was will be again; what has been done will be done again; and there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 (The Jerusalem Bible)

Still overflowing with the peace and good will of the Christmas spirit, I am glad to be resting after many, many road miles spent visiting with family and friends. Christmas came upon me quickly this season, and now the new year is drawing near and I have yet to adjust to that new set of feelings and aspirations.

Years ago, as 1973 was about to emerge, I found myself in a Wednesday evening prayer meeting and Bible study, listening to a pastor expounding the Book of Eccleasiastes. I had not been familiar with the contents of that text until that evening as I sat and listened. It proved to be a pivotal point. From that year till now, I have always included a fresh reading of Ecclesiasates with each new year approaching.

The aged author of that Book had found life unsatisfying, concluding that all was “vanity” (empty, meaningless), and that there was nothing new to be found as one grew older. Throughout my years, I have often found myself dissatisfied with how my life was going, but I can never recall reaching the depths of despair felt in this Book. One thing that has remained constant with me is this romantic notion that new experiences can be discovered; life for me remains an odyssey, filled with surprises.

New Year resolutions have always been a special part of my pilgrimage, and as I have spent recent days working and re-working a list of goals, I considered what I wish to accomplish in this blog. I confess that I spend too much time reading current news and listening to news reports and commentary. My summation of this content is that it is almost exclusively negative as well as badly written and spoken. As a retired educator, having devoted decades to persuading students to read quality texts, why do I constantly fall into the ditch of reading yellow journalism and listening to angry commentary? One of my main goals for 2019 is to trim back drastically that daily diet of literary and verbal trash and replenish my soul with quality thoughts and expressions. I came across the following while reading Steppenwolf this morning:

There is no sense in thinking or saying or writing anything of human import, to bother one’s head with thoughts of goodness–for two or three men who do that, there are thousands of papers, periodicals, speeches, meetings in public and in private, that make the opposite their daily endeavor and succeed in it too.

I agree that for every two or three blogging commentators there are myriads of professional journalists who successfully drown out a few quality words with an avalanche of venomous proclamations. But I refuse to conclude with the Steppenwolf that “there is no sense in thinking or saying or writing anything of human import” and I also refuse the Preacher’s conclusion in Ecclesiastes that life is vanity and there is no new thing under the sun.

In many, many ways, 2018 sucked in the political sphere, but my personal odyssey turned up many exciting sites and adventures. The time is near when I will be able to say Good-bye to 2018 and lean forward into 2019, echoing the sentiments of Jack Kerouac in his masterwork On the Road:

It’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.

Thanks for reading, and I wish you an adventure-filled 2019. I also pledge to write positive thoughts with hopes of enriching the lives of readers.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

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One Response to “Leaning Forward”

  1. Jay Haeske Says:

    Thanks for that David, and all the best for you in 2019 too! It’s always good to see new blog posts from you, whether they are about your art or religious and philosophical thoughts and discoveries. Nice also that you closed this post with a quote from Kerouac!

    Like

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