Last night, I watched The Dead Poet’s Society again, and two immortal lines stood out to me:
“We’re all just worm food, lads.”
“Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”
It’s one of those films that really just pumps you up. It makes you long for life. It makes you long to not merely BE alive, but to FEEL alive. The thing about emotional rides like that is, they often lead to immense excitement and passion, but it’s undirected. What does it MEAN to be alive? How exactly do you write a prescription for all of mankind for one daily dose of passionate life?
The Joie de vivre?
The Carpe diem?
Everyone has their own answers, don’t they? Some suggest that if you just ‘get out and see the world, your life will be complete. Don’t just stay in the same place! Get out and find yourself!’ Others find their answers to a fulfilled life in sex, success, fame, and crazy experiences. Some think that the harder you laugh, the more fulfilling your life is.
Some think that the more religious they are, the more fulfilling their life will be.
I’ve thought a lot about this and I have a few thoughts. Last year I put out a book on loneliness, it’s called The New Lonely. The thesis is this: 50 years ago, people were lonely because they were cut off from other people. Widows, orphans and prisoners were truly alone. Today, nearly all of us complain of being lonely constantly, despite the fact that we are more connected than ever before. This leads me to believe that the problem isn’t the number of connections we have; it’s the depth of those relationships which has suffered.
We may have more connections but they’re shallow. Hence the title, the NEW Lonely.
And I think about this, as it applies to being truly alive and wonder, is this true in other areas as well? Are we experiencing a shallow toe-dip of life rather than diving on in, full submersion? Are we happy for the photogenic Instagram capture of us on the mountaintop instead of just taking time to BE there? Richly? To really experience and dwell in that moment?
It’s weird and it takes time, but I think that as Millennials, we are missing our lives in favor of the shallow substitutes. This is true of our relationships and it’s true of our lives! We are not only sacrificing deep, authentic intimacy on the altar of digital acclaim and attention, we are missing the passion of being alive where and when we are in the moment!
You see, I’m a Christian, and I believe in a God who feels things. I believe in a God who is also fully alive because He made us to be like Him!
I think that when we get stoked about something, He is stoked right alongside us! And that when we weep, he weeps with us as well.
You may have heard the colloquialism, Jesus comes and lives inside of you, and I think there’s some truth there. But do you ever really take time to think about what that means? That He—the God of the universe, Creator of all—lives life through and with you?
Acts 17:28 says that ‘In Him, we live and move and have our being…’
God never called anyone to a bland, passionless life! He doesn’t call you to spend your days swiping on your phone, scrolling through your various feeds!
I think deep within our soul is this longing to be roaringly awake, to dive headfirst into the pool, but we’re content to sit on the side dipping our big toe in repeatedly and wondering why we still feel empty.
C.S. Lewis said, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
We live life through and in the God of the universe! Doesn’t that get you stoked? Doesn’t that make you want to dive deeply into the ocean of experience out there? Even in your “boring” day-to-day routine, life is happening. And it’s crazy. And it’s always changing and different.
N.D. Wilson says, “This is not a sober world.”
Are you aware of this, or is it slipping away from you already? You won’t be around much longer….another 50 or 60 years MAX before you’re worm food.
How’s it gonna be spent? Asleep or awake? Bored or alive?
I think the biggest mistake I could make in this post is to get you all pumped up to go out and ‘live your best life now’ and then the inspiration will wear off after a few minutes and reality sets back in. Inspiration without perspiration is useless. So what is the point here?
I think it’s about recognizing not only what makes us most alive, but who. I believe that life is found in Christ, and He even says that He came that we may have life, and life to the fullest. So I guess this is just a reminder that Jesus isn’t boring, nor does He want you to be bored.
If Christianity were boring, why would anyone want to draw others into that?? You only invite people into something when you’re stoked about it!
So come on in! Come fully alive, in Him. Because outside of Him is where there is boredom, monotony, and more accurately, pain, anger, war, darkness and hatred. There’s not really much middle ground here.