The title of this post may seem a little ambiguous but that’s fine, I am not too sure what I ‘mean’ by it starting out anyway. A bit of background, I’ve had a few things in my life that made me consider value in and of life. I won’t mention some of them but two which stick out are my near death in 2005 and my resulting faith in Jesus. In a way I have a relentless urge to live a meaningful life, but what is a meaningful life? Though I believe that there would be some accord on what a wasted life might look like, the meaning of a meaningful life is more subjective.
I’ve just returned from an awesome weekend at a church youth camp near sir Lowry’s pass in the Western Cape. It’s a beautiful area if you haven’t seen it. Harsh grey rocks cut into the sides of rugged hills. The sky was often grey and the dam near to our camp picked up on this somber tone.
I arrived at the camp with a heart that empathized strongly with the ambiance of the environment. My contract at a company I had come to love had just expired. I was once again in a place of searching. What would be the next thing to step in to. I had been in a similar position before. The first time after the car crash in 2005, then after failing in 2006, again when I finished my general BA degree and searched for where I should go (as we all do), once again when I was retrenched and then lastly when I returned from my monumental round-the-world trip last year. Each time GOD showed me the way forward. This would usually happen just after the point where it wasn’t comfortable any more and it usually took a small step into the unknown on my part.
My heart was also a little grey because I had just spent a lonely week at home. In this time I had been pouring every waking moment into a variety of projects. Preparations and anxieties about the camp itself had also been keeping me occupied. One such anxiety was the workshop I had volunteered to lead titled: ‘serving GOD with your creativity’. This is a subject I am passionate about. I believe I am pretty creative, though I am as yet to do anything monumental with this talent. I have been searching (some might say fruitlessly) for a vocation that would employ my skills in a meaningful way. Though I have definitely used them here and there to do good, the need for money and the desire for fame often creep up and waylay my aspirations. One might question the logic of a person who is battling with the question of how to meaningfully use his own creativity teaching others how to use there’s. Anyway, that thought was swirling around my brain in the run up to camp. How could I presume to teach others what confounded me?
With the gift of hindsight I can now say that I was in the perfect position to try and guide others because of that very fact. I had been struggling for years with the question of how to meaningfully create. At any time I have around 5 major projects going on in the background. At the moment I am working on: 2 short stories; 1 novel; an animated short; illustrations of slugs (I’ve just finished these); a board game (though this has been on hold for about a year and a half) as well as sketching etc. Each one is awesome and I love them! I have to admit however that they are pretty exhausting. I’ve also started to wonder if any of them is truly worth anything? Is my making them merely adding to the already overflowing rubbish dump that the internet has become?
I learned some stuff through doing my workshop. I learned that I can start a workshop by turning my back on the class and telling them to enjoy the scenery for a bit. I also leaned that my stressing over the task was pointless, neither of the 2 I did went at all the way I had planned but that was actually better. The last thing I learned and the thing that will stay with me was that I’ve just got to make a decision and stick with it. I have to decide what it is I want out of life, what I’m living for and do just that! That is what I ended up counseling the youth: Do what they see as valuable.
A young lecturer I had made a passing comment once that stuck with me. He said that if you say you believe something what’s the point of giving it 89%? What’s the value of living a half hearted life? If anyone is reading this, I guess this is the question I’ll leave you with. I’m proudly stating my standing point ‘publicly’ for the first time. I’m a believer in Jesus, my life is driven by love . Firstly for GOD and then people. Does this change who I am? Not at all. However, maybe just stating it like this changes far more then I am aware.