Saturday, December 13, 2003

Three thoughts I'm thinking, as better expressed by others:

"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." - Anatole France

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." - Hesiod

The past few weeks have been eventful for me, and thereby, less introspective than is probably appropriate. I can't decide what I want in life. Do I want to be well-adjusted, or do I want excellence? I'm told that these concepts aren't mutually exclusive; but Jesus wasn't mainstream, and the Buddha wasn't mainstream, and you can bet that St. Francis wasn't a good old boy. And I can't help finding conflict in it all.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about virtue. About how I used to have a touch of it, and how now I haven't. In part, it's a matter of self-realization, and realization about the nature of sin. In part, too, it's a matter of the frequency of temptation. How many avoid sin merely by virtue of having never been tempted! But in part, I think there's something in me which has decayed.

I've strayed. And though the last thing my will is willing to endure is discipline, I've decided to rededicate myself to just that during my break. I have the perfect opportunity to reintroduce myself to right ideas, and to the hard work which bridges ideal and reality.