A week ago, I wrote about what I called an epiphany. I’ve been thinking about it (the epiphany, not what I wrote about it) ever since. During the course of my contemplation, I’ve stumbled across a number of questions that have no suitable answers. But that’s not unusual; most of my questions don’t lend themselves to suitable answers, thanks in no small part to the complicated nature of my personality. One question that’s been nagging at me for the past week is this: How can one even consider a path that, while exciting and frightening and deeply alluring, has the potential of causing great emotional distress for a loved one? Does the very fact that I am weighing a potential reward for me against the potential distress for my wife say something about me that I don’t want to know? Is the pernicious nature of my selfish dream an indicator of the quality of humanity lurking beneath my skin? I realize I may be making more of this dream (that is nothing more than whimsy at the moment) than it merits, but I also know it may be far more telling than I wish it were. A good man, my reasoning mind tells me, would not even entertain ideas that have the potential of causing distress or harm to a loved one. Only a deeply flawed man, a man who attempts to cover his blemishes with self-effacing questions, would permit the thoughts to cross his mind.
As I consider what I wrote above, it occurs to me that not even I, who wrote the paragraph, is clear on what I meant about the harm I might do. It’s this: if I were to pursue some sort of business venture, as last week I alluded I might like to do, the money I would need would come out of retirement funds that we might desperately need in the not-too-distant future. That would constitute the stress and harm. How could I do that? Am I out of my mind? Am I a brutal, inconsiderate pig for even giving the matter a second’s thought?
These are rhetorical questions, mind you, so you (whoever you are) need not answer them. I’m not even sure I am equipped to answer them. The solution to the dilemma is a huge and unexpected infusion of money; so often, that’s what solutions are.