Quote of the Day

“Living the Dream”

C. S. Lewis - WikipediaI don’t know about you, but I rarely hear anyone using the phrase “living the dream” other than sarcastically, or to indicate that he or she is doing anything but.  It may have originated, somewhere in the latter-half of the twentieth century to mean that it was possible, in these United States, to become, or do, anything we were willing to work to achieve–to lift ourselves out of poverty, to move up the social scale, to get a good education, to have a productive career, a comfortable life, a stable, loving, family, a sustaining faith, or any of the other values we might traditionally associate with success and the “American Dream,” but that surely doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

This morning, I went to Tractor Supply to pick up some suet cakes for the birds.  While there, I ran into an acquaintance (he lives too far away to be called a neighbor, and I wouldn’t exactly call him a friend), who’s about my age.  He’s recently retired from a good job, has a perfectly nice, normal wife, and has two grown and married children who have their own families (five of whom are his beloved grandchildren) and who live in the area.  He owns his own modest, but very acceptable, three-bedroom house, with a bit of property, and he’s comfortably off and needn’t worry about living in penury in his latter years.

And yet.

He’s a card-carrying member of what I call the “Legion of the Perpetually Aggrieved and Victimized.”  Nothing pleases him. Everything that happens in his life is a personally-directed insult, almost everyone he knows is out to get him, and he almost never has anything nice to say about anyone, even members of his own family.  He gossips incessantly in damaging ways with the vanishingly few friends who are so unfortunate as to be left to him, and they spend inordinate amounts of time spreading vicious and damaging rumors about the rest of us.

“Hello!”  I exclaimed cheerily, when I saw him this morning.  “How are you doing?”

“Living the dream,” he responded sourly.


I don’t know this man all that well myself, but one of my rather normal neighbors is his close relative, so I’m familiar with many of his life’s circumstances.

He has absolutely nothing to be sour about.

What is it, I wonder, which turns people so foul?

It’s quite difficult, when contemplating such things–even if you’re not particularly self-obsessed–not to bring one’s own circumstances into the equation when wondering why you–who’ve survived a number of dreadful life circumstances yourself, and who finds herself comparing, as I do myself–herself against her equals, remain consistently cheerful and happy, while the other turns uniformly bitter, vengeful, and spiteful.

I don’t know the answer to the question of why I am I and they are they.  But I’m pretty sure that the answer is not to treat life as some sort of adversarial process, to set up a “T” chart where one lists all the awful things that have happened to one in the ‘left’ column, and all the nicer things that have happened to one in the ‘right’ column, and then to mold one’s life on the basis of the circumstance in the longer column and of its contents.

When I make such a chart, the ‘awful’ column on the left is lengthy and extensive, in major and horrible ways. And that in the right column is shorter and less substantial.

Should I–therefore–subdue myself to the worst on the left, whilst pretending that it is all for the best on the right–or vice-versa?”  Because I believe that there is grace.

Perhaps–as C.S. Lewis postulated, that is the difference between myself and the rest of you.

All I know is that–every morning–I wake up grateful to be alive, and that I enjoy the subsequent catching up with all of you on the only social media (the real one) I care about–that of myself, my family, my pets, my farm, my friends–and that I can do no other than enjoy each instance which God provides of the bounty and uniqueness of the world in front of me.

Lord.  I’ve had many dreams in my time.  Not a one of them is better than the reality I wake up to, here on the farm, every single day.

Here I am.  Taking an early morning photo of my friends. Happily–they and I–“living the dream.” LOL.

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