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KSRK: Quidam and My Friend

A real-life email from my pious but living-in-sin friend:

Things are moving along here …. I’m on the verge of formal engagement. Just have to buy the ring and think of a creative way to propose. Hmm. Something I’ve never done before. I feel like I’m approaching this momentus point-of-no-return, or rather, one of Frost’s fork-in-the-road moments. On the other hand, I feel like I’m just acknowledging a reality that’s already happened. And what has happened? I’m all entangled in this other being called M_________.

I’m heading into a future that I can’t see clearly. Life with M________ is not going to be simple, and we will have our difficult moments. She’s a kind of lost soul, looking for happiness. She’s generally not satisfied with her life, but partly because she doesn’t know what she wants to do. She thinks her happiness depends largely on having things, an illusion that she hasn’t yet woken up to. Choosing a future with this woman is like choosing a mission. A mission for life. My mission: M_______’s happiness and well-being. To be a light in her darkness. To show her the way.

Perhaps it’s foolish of me to take this road. Missions don’t always succeed. I really can’t, in the end, be responsible for M_______’s happiness, let alone her salvation. Only she can be.

Love has made me a fool.

My reply a month later:

Not sure whether I should attempt to advise you about your proposed proposal. Have you done it yet? Did she say yes? If so, God bless you and God help the both of you! Hallelujah!

I agree in part that it is, from one angle, simply acknowledging what has already happened — that you got yourself entangled with M_________. On the other hand it seems to me that if it’s taken you this long to come around to facing up to that — well, that’s a large red flag. If you’re still putting it off, then I’d say the red flag is continuing to unfurl. So what is the frequency, Kenneth?

I’ve been reading Kierkegaard’s Quidam’s Diary — a fictionalized account of his engagement and the breaking of it. So that may be adversely affecting my view of your case. (Search for KSRK at http://korrektiv.blogspot.com for details. Do you follow my blog?) If you’re going to do it, I hope you do it soon and start to churn out babies — that may be where the light could start to dawn for M_________. But if you’re hesitating, then maybe you should listen to your gut because if she is in such a completely different existence-sphere than you, then your mission is going to require an heroic amount of patience and renunciation of your highest aspirations on your part. Maybe you can deal with it in a Christlike fashion, but maybe it will just confuse both your path and her path. In other words, maybe, just maybe, you should consider whether you wouldn’t both be better off following your separate paths rather than trying to forge one that is going to make you both unhappy.

There’s still the priesthood and I can certainly see the parameters of a priestly vocation in your life. But if so, get on with it! Put your hand to the plow, enroll in seminary … and don’t look back.

I feel it’s my duty to submit that for reconsideration. But on the other hand, if you really do propose (or have proposed) and she says (or has said) yes, then I’m ready to celebrate, too. Just get on with it! You ain’t gettin’ any younger my friend.

OK end of cheap advice. Let me know what your status is. And I promise to write you a real account of my current adventures soon. Also, write to me about your adventures — this abstract business of being on a fool’s mission is all well and good, but I want concrete details. What have you been doing, where have you gone, what have you seen, how’s your sex life? Cough up some concrete descriptive thoughtful prose, that’s what’s wanting. And I will, too.

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