“Beings are owners of their actions…heirs of their actions; they originate from their actions, are bound to their actions, have their actions as their refuge. It is action that distinguishes beings as inferior and superior.”
Ouch. That’s a sore spot. I am an “idea guy”. That’s not a brag, that’s a diagnosis. I am so full of ideas, and intentions, and plans and words words words. I frequently psyche up to start new programs, embark on new resolutions and courses of future action. Sometimes I go off and do, hypocritically, the opposite of what I just resolved. But most frequently I start off and just don’t follow through.
You know what the main problem with my jump shot is? My tennis serve? Why I can’t hit a decent kill shot in racquetball? My follow-through. Not seeing the stroke through after hitting the ball and looking up too fast to watch where it lands and anticipate my next shot. In sports as in life, it seems.
There is a guy, a writer in this Sandman book called Dream Country who imprisons a muse. He refuses to set her free when commanded to do so by the Sandman. “I need her for the ideas,” he says. And so the Sandman gives him ideas — lots of them — as a punishment. So many ideas that the man wears his hands to the bone trying to write them all down. He can’t actually write anything because of the flood of ideas. Sometimes I feel like that guy. Too many ideas about writing kept him from writing — Too many ideas about life keeps me from living.
Oh, and my poor wife. One of her main love languages is “acts of service”. (If you are in a Love Relationship, you simply must at least skim The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman and determine your partner’s love language as well as your own.) How unloved she must feel when I am wrapped up in ideas and deficient in action. Thanks to God she has a forgiving heart. Sigh.
That’s why Henri Nouwen’s book “The Way of the Heart” is speaking to me at this particular moment. Cultivating solitude and interior silence — saying “SHHHHHH!!” to all those little ideas running around my head like toddlers on a playground — is the just what I need. I hoping my ailing follow-through will improve with silence and prayer. And practice, lots of practice.