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Provocation

I quote my post from The Increase:

On the glass wall of the church office, a number of colorful paper butterflies arranged within the outline of a crown were displayed in an area carefully bordered with tape, presumably for the perusal of the students of and visitors to this good Christian school. Each butterfly carried a message, often a hastily scrawled one, about what it meant to have new life. It was Easter. 

One such scrawled message: ‘I’m still searching for it,’ stood out, for several reasons. Among the short, snappy cliches and the oh-so-meaningful mini-epics around it, the message seemed heartfelt. I actually laughed at it at first, almost reflexively, because of the existential angst I could easily imagine it being wrung out of, angst being something my teenage broodings were marked with. My teenage years are almost over, but I haven’t yet grown out of my self-conscious reflexes. 

‘I’m still searching for it,’ is also one of those declarations regularly rehashed in television and in other media popularizing a kind of resolute inconclusiveness. It would just have seemed trite if it hadn’t been swimming in chicken soup, but, because of either the context or the stress I could imagine it being wrung from, I thought it was sincere, and hours later, it got me thinking. 

I think one of the things I realized was that I had drifted into a kind of complacency with regards to my own new life. I think I assumed that if I had asked myself what my new life was, I would have had a good answer. I did have the shape of an answer in mind at the time, something to do with truth and freedom and the realization that in an uncertain world we are only beginning to know where we stand, but, as you can see, it is still barely the shape of an answer. 

The next thing I realized was that whoever it was that wrote the note was writing from somewhere I haven’t totally left either. I still think about life and meaning, even if I wouldn’t say I was still searching for new life. I realized that if I had felt or affected some kind of jaded cynicism at the point in time I glanced at the mass of notes on display, the feeling or attitude wasn’t something that I could be comfortable with having. I think complacency describes the state I was in on this level as well. 

I suppose that scrawled note was the start to what could be called a change of heart.

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Categories: Reflection
  1. [egg]
    21 May 2009 at 11:58 am

    Hey, mike here. I just stumbled upon your blog via steam. yes, i saw that note and it resonated with me too.

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