Sometimes I wonder whether I should have studied art at university. Or literature or history. Something that would get me thinking about cause and effect, get me looking at Rembrandt, get me talking about great works and how they affect society and individuals. I want to delve into these things from a Catholic perspective. There is certainly enough sacred art to fill the Louvre multiple times. There are enough texts, contemporary and ancient, relatively unimportant (like this blog) and captivatingly doctrine-centered, to line the walls of my home and mind, enough that I could never finish reading in a hundred lifetimes. There are enough background stories about my favorite saints, enticing tidbits about the papacy and what Jesus' life must have been like, dates and places where decisions and documents and martyrs were made that I would need eternity to understand them.
Half of this retrospective desire comes from the love of learning deep seated at the center of my brain, probably not too far from my medulla and amygdala, basic and central as it is. I want to know more all the time: why do these ingredients interact this way? how can I get a certain type of stain out of a certain type of fabric? what does this disease do to your body? what are the arguments for the existence of God (and what are the good ones)? what does he do with his free time? would she think it strange if I proposed we spend the afternoon together catching up? where is the nearest beautiful park I can visit? how can I make my life more sustainable? where will I be living five, ten, twenty years from now? what homeschooling program would I use if I had one? how can I make the lives of 17th century royalty relevant? what can I learn from the example of my family? Any question, basic to complex, abstract to concrete, philosophical to historical pops into my brain and I am able (luckily, with the resources I have) to find out more about the subject. Why should I not take advantage of that?
The other half of this desire comes from the longing I am experiencing for being "anywhere but here." Usually, that comes from feeling as if I am being unproductive or unhelpful in my current state. I don't seem to be helping others, let alone myself (one can only feel so much betterment while uninspired) sometimes. I dream of being more useful at home, where I imagine I'm needed, and where I need to be, for emotional and physical help. I imagine myself securing a better, full time job that would have me being productive all day and inspire me to be more productive at home cleaning, planning and writing. I imagine myself traveling, usually in Europe, daydreaming about hot chocolate at a cafe, people watching and going to the nearest museum to try to educate myself.
I want adventure and creativity and drive, things I am really trying to get a handle on, but they seem to be just out of reach lately. With all these thoughts on purpose, I wonder how well I'm fulfilling mine in God's eyes as well as my own. Maybe I should spend Mass and another hour at the chapel everyday, trying to sort out these issues in a place where I can think and be in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. I imagine the environment would be better for my listening process as well.
What is it that God has planned for me? Is it the same wistful dreaming I escape to? Is it a plan completely different, intensely more difficult, more heart-wrenching, more mind-spinning than I plan? Is it more rewarding than the life I imagine?
I think I need to do a lot more doing than sitting. Thinking is fine, of course, but without action what results do I expect?