Thursday, March 15, 2007

Triggers

Today is March 15th - the Ides of March.

Which triggers thoughts of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, in which a soothsayer utters the foreboding line, "Beware the Ides of March."

Which triggers memories of sophomore year Advanced English class with the late Mr. Harris, in which we studied Julius Caesar, along with rhetoric and debate (for which we divided up into teams to verbally duke it out over how to deal with passive aggression in the public schools, for which my team came up with "P.A.R.E. - Passive Aggression Resistance Education," for which I came up with a killer logo) and science fiction (for which we were required to write short stories, and mine was about an eerie world in which women could no longer have children. I can't remember what I titled it...it wasn't "Children of Men," but I still think perhaps I should get royalties...)

Which triggers memories of high school classmates I have not thought about in years, and I wonder what has become of them, and if I will see them at our 10 year reunion next year.

Which triggers incredulity that it's already been almost 10 years since I strode the halls of my high school, tall and proud and insecure and carefree and stressed out all at once, a top-two-percent-national-honor-society-varsity-athlete-choir-member-forensics-competitor-school-spirit-fanatic, and how I thought all those accolades and activities would get me somewhere and make me someone.

Which triggers thoughts about how the life I am living today is not at all what I imagined for myself back then.

Which triggers questions of what life would be like if it HAD turned out the way I'd imagined, and how I feel about the fact that reality is really quite different, but mostly wonderful all the same.

Which triggers my recollection of a paragraph or two near the end of Phil Vischer's Me, Myself, and Bob, which I finished reading recently, in which he proposes that as Christians we really have no business having "big, hairy audacious goals" or a strategically plotted answer to "where do you see yourself in 5 years?" other than "In the center of God's will" or something equally submissive and not-the-pilot-of-this-ship.

Which triggers relief, because honestly I don't know where I will be or even want to be in 5 or 10 years, and frankly I'm rather gun-shy about committing to any ideas about that because where I saw myself 10 and 5 years ago never happened, and it's hard to accept that I am where I am and I'm not where I could be if there's this expectation that where I saw myself is where I'm supposed to be and where I am instead is all my fault.

Which triggers a sense that I'm no longer making much. Sense, that is.

So, yeah, the Ides of March. Beware.

4 comments:

Curt said...

Thanks for your comment on BHAGs. They make me nervous for the some of the same reasons. If you want another perspective on the issue, I can send you an interesting article by Jack Hayford, "Why I Don't Set Goals," which was posted on CT's site a while back. (P.S: I stumbled on your blog through a link in WV's Transformed Lives e-mail.)

Bethany said...

You are making a lot of sense...thank you.

jimbo said...

What about being trigger happy? We wouldn't be able to enjoy the company of Pete w/out the happiness of a trigger :)

suz said...

Here are a few paragraphs from jellyfishland.com, the site for Phil Vischer's new project, Jellyfish. While not exactly the same (I think...I returned the book already or I'd quote directly) they are similar to what I read in M,M&B that got me thinking:

"[T]o be a Christian is to give Christ “lordship” of our lives. That’s what it means. He’s Lord, we’re not. And if we’ve given Christ lordship of our lives, where we are in 20 years is, frankly, none of our business. Where we are in 5 years is none of our business. What is our business, is what God has told us to do today, and whether or not we’re doing it. That’s it.

Phil’s “big idea” died under the weight of Phil’s own ambition. Even though it was ambition to do “good,” it still amounted to a failure to allow God to lead him on a daily basis. A failure to follow. To submit.

So now Phil is starting again, and he wanted the name for his new company to remind him every day of the lessons he’s learned. So he picked “Jellyfish.” Why? Because jellyfish can’t choose their own course. They can’t locomote. They can go up a little, they can go down a little. But overall, they’re completely dependent on the current to carry them wherever they’re supposed to be. For a jellyfish to make a 20-year plan would be ridiculous. An act of ultimate hubris. And so it is with us. Rather than crafting their little plans and laboring to force things to go “their way,” Phil and his new cohorts at Jellyfish are committed to seeking and following God’s direction, each and every day – committed to staying in the “current” of God’s will, and letting Him carry them where they need to be. No long range plans, unless they come directly from God."