If you act like that bee acts… uh-uh – you’re working too hard. And don’t spend your time looking around, for something you want that can’t be found. When you find out that you can live without it and go along not thinking about it, I’ll tell you something true:
the bare necessities of life will come to you.”
Take the book, “Into the Wild.” It is the true story of a guy who, after graduating from college, burns his possessions and goes to live a life of adventure hiking through wilderness, kayaking across countries, and living life detached from the pressures and burdens of society. When I first read the book my junior year in high school I was jealous of his life. He’s had experiences I’ve only dreamed of. I thirsted for adventure. Yet, in the midst of the grandest adventure that the man had longed anticipated as being his highest goal the conclusions he came to was, “Happiness only real when shared.” He died a painful and lonely death shortly thereafter. It took two different preachers in two different states to use him as a negative example for me to begin to wonder if maybe the logical conclusions to many of the fun premises I’ve enjoyed are not what I truly desire.
Baloo maintains that if something does not come easy then it’s not worth having. He lives off of whatever comes his way. If he doesn’t have something he may have wanted he learns that ultimately he doesn’t need it and decides that contentment is better. Obviously, there are some positive lessons to be learned from his character (his fun-loving character is contrasted to Bagheera who needs to learn to lighten up a little and how to enjoy life and not just be weighed down in rules). That doesn’t change the fact that ultimately Baloo believes that if he has to go slightly out of his way to get something, it’s not worth actually getting it – which sounds foolish if you say it out loud. Yet, unspoken, that philosophy marked a lot of the way I saw the world.
Yet, Baloo learns that there are things in life worth dying for.
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Baloo, that silly old bear and the great lover of life, learns that his heart can be won to the extent that he’s willing to give his life for something bigger than himself. In a nutshell, that’s one of the biggest lessons I have learned so far at Covenant.
I had been taught and had rationally come to intellectually understand that the road to life is through death. It sounded like foolishness because I had truly believed that I’d be happiest in life doing whatever came easiest. Asking me to leave behind that quest for finding satisfaction in lazily lowering my expectations felt like death. Setting my sights for something higher that would take me on a difficult path exposed me to so many risks.
One year I ago, I was just coming to grips with the idea that I might be called to go to seminary. The idea that I might work to earn a Master’s Degree – in anything – didn’t make too much sense to me. The fact that I’ve now finished 21 out of a required 104 credits towards my Master’s of Divinity and I’m excited to start more is proof that God is doing something in my life. Last semester was very hard and I was exhausted when it was over. However, I’m so happy that I exhausted myself doing something I loved. Moving here and attending seminary was a test I issued to God. “Ok God, you say that the way to life is through losing it for your sake. Let’s see if that’s true.”
Maybe you’re slightly tired of me saying it or maybe it doesn’t make much sense to you but for me the [perhaps] biggest take away from my experience at Covenant so far has been God proving to me that I’ll be happiest in life working hard at something I love.
This silly old bear is so happy.