Thursday, December 29, 2016

Dasein




Oh how lovely to type a blog entry at long last (only my fourth for the entire year, and it's about to end, haha)! How lovely to be in the midst of Christmas break, how lovely to have the luxury of wallowing in non-academic, non-work related pursuits! A blessed time indeed.

And of course, like any self-respecting book club member, a great deal of the past several days have been spent reading books that my exhausted brain didn't allow me to read during the rest of the year.

One of the books that brought me joy to read was Father James Martin's work "Between Heaven and Mirth," a book filled with Jesuit jokes, good humor, and deep spiritual insights written in simple language, all of which made me realize something about myself.



I've always been considered a serious person, and I suppose I took myself and my work more seriously than I should've. Of course, respecting one's vocation IS important. But I allowed myself (quite erroneously, I see now) to think that I should be serious ALL THE TIME. And now I see that it is wrong in the sense that I allowed my sense of childish delight to be stifled, that I allowed my fun-loving side to basically shrivel and die while I filled my thoughts with so-called "serious matters," all in the vain attempt to come across as a mature professional, to seem wiser than my years.

And it was all vanity! I see it now. 

Father Martin's lovely book convinced me that there is nothing wrong with living in the present, enjoying each moment as it comes, delighting in the little things like jokes and cheer, in the every day miracles and mistakes that make us laugh. Because this comedy of errors brings us closer to God, the source of all joy!

There is a German word for the act of living in the moment, breathing in each second with pleasure, being joyful in the sheer fact that one is alive: "dasein." I use the German not to come across as more intellectual, but because the Germans have a gift for compressing so many thoughts and ideas into lovely, short and meaningful words.

Dasein. To exist joyfully. To live, truly. 

As St. Irenaeus put it: "The glory of God is man fully alive."

I see now that I have spent far too many years (practically the past decade!) in error. And for 2017, my challenge is to continue seeking this joy, and encourage it in everyone instead of stifling it (as has been my wont). It won't be easy, and it won't be an overnight personality change. But I SHALL try. 

Maybe you have favorite jokes you wish to share with me? It would help me greatly! :)

Here's to another decade of life, of living it fully and truly!

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