More Than I Ever Knew

This evening, I watched a news broadcast. Something was said in the broadcast, I don’t remember quite what, that triggered vague memories of a number of news items in days and months and years past. These news items involved people who had “given everything they had” to accomplish specific goals in life. Though the majority of news items involved scientific and medical breakthroughs, some involved sports figures achieving their dreams by accomplishing things no other human had ever done.

When these things cross my mind, I naturally (is it natural?) try to recall instances in which I “gave everything I had” to achieve something vitally important to me. That attempt at memory comes up empty; I don’t recall ever having given “everything I had,” that is, everything I was capable of giving, to accomplish something. Maybe that something I wanted simply fell in my lap before I was challenged to give all; or maybe I came to the conclusion that mine was an impossible objective, beyond my grasp. Whatever the reason, I don’t seem to know of a single circumstance in which I feel that I was willing to give my all to accomplish something.

Should I feel alone in the world for that? Am I, alone, the only one whose mediocrity is fueled by an unwillingness or inability to “give it all” toward a goal? Or am I normal? Are the abnormal ones the people who are so utterly committed to an objective that they will literally go beyond their own capacities in order to reach it?

I wish I had been willing to “give my all” to something. I don’t know what; just something. Something meaningful, impactful, important; something beyond myself, my family, my human race, my planet; something that transcends everything we humans realize is important. Geez, that’s some grandiose thinking. Perhaps I ought to be satisfied to give everything I have for the benefit of something or someone dear to me, rather than to accomplish something. Yes, that’s more like it.

Yet my mind rushes to the words of Shakespeare, words that echo in my brain a lot of late, from Julius Caesar: The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.

Superficial. That’s the word that is far too close to descriptive of me. I explore a thousand avenues, but never walk even one in its entirety. I know very little about very much. That may be explainable, but not forgiven. One mustn’t spend 62 years scratching the surface of everything within reach, never delving below for fear of drowning in the ineptitude to “get” what’s a few micrometers below. Lest the reader think I am singling myself out as a unique outcast, seeking a soothing, “there, there,” that’s not the case. I’m not seeking pity and I don’t feel particularly alone in my mediocrity and my unwillingness to struggle to accomplish objectives that perhaps seem impossible. I am unhappy with the state of things, to be sure, but I don’t pity myself for having made an unintentional contribution to the world today by failing to give more of myself to make the world a better place. That’s a long sentence. Yes, I know; it deserves its length, because the subject is of sufficient import to warrant more words and less worry.

Some evenings, and some mornings, I get the impression I am writing frenetically simply because I know I don’t have much time to unload all the thoughts in my brain. A successful unloading process, including some form of sorting and elimination of redundancies, would take a supercomputer a thousand years. I’m raging against the machine (if you get that, good, if not, don’t worry).

This post started in a very different place than the one in which it will finish. So did the writer. My mind scurries through nooks and crannies and rat-holes looking for crumbs of thought that I might snatch and call my own, though I know they belong to someone else, though I know not who. Darkness is beginning to have its way with the earth, so the dim light contributing to my happy mood is disappearing fast.

I know one thing with certainty. One person I wish would read my blog from time to time will not, cannot. That person doesn’t even know it exists. And I can’t call attention to it. Such are the mistakes we make when we think we know whether this dimension starts and ends and another ends and commences. It’s all magic, in one form or another. And the magic is more than I ever knew. Far, far, far more.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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One Response to More Than I Ever Knew

  1. Holly Forrest says:

    I got the rage against the machine reference. Because I am an old person like you.
    This not delving deeper business is counterbalanced by the breadth of your awareness, JS. You are a Renaissance man. Quoting Shakespeare! And a good line, at that. I know we are fast approaching the time where we’re wondering about our legacy, but at least you don’t have a whole lotta evil that’s gonna live after your bones are interred. Me, I’m not so sure.

    Elegantly written post, filled with thought-provoking stuff. Good beat. I give it a 9.

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