only for today, I mean.
Attending meeting frequently lifts my spirits and today's gathering of fellow Friends succeed as it so often does, providing my life some desperately needed perspective. As a largely solitary person, I frequently forget the positive benefits of basic human interaction and the corresponding simple pleasures of a spiritual outlet comprised of fellow worshipers. Though as an introvert, contact with others frequently leaves me drained and exhausted, I nonetheless greatly appreciate and treasure the numerous blessings that the weekly ritual of socialization have to offer.
In great contrast to spiritual worship is the online-based, tightly-knit network of like minded individuals that I call my blogging friends. This morning, during the first hour for worship, I couldn't help but mull over the massive difference between the dual roles those two dynamics play in my life. They are polar opposites to each other, appealing to completely different parts of my personality and sides of who I am Two years spent perusing the blogosphere and making connections with others who daily put their thoughts and reflections out online for public display has given me a sense of perspective I didn't have before; I've come to a few pertinent conclusions about us: who we are, what makes us up, how we think, and what we espouse. To wit, many bloggers, I find, are loners, malcontents, eccentrics, and feel chronically misunderstood and underappreciated. We are certainly of like mind, but often too alike for our own good. Too much commonality is both a blessing and a curse. The sum total of unhappy people is a communal black hole full of frustration, anguish, depression, righteous indignation, and woe.
I read anywhere from forty to sixty blogs a day and in the two hours or so it takes me to plow through all of them, seldom do I find myself with my spirits uplifted afterward. What is more likely to result is elevated blood pressure and crushing despair, a direct result of being exposed to an exhaustive number of harangues on a theme, all railing against that which is wrong, that which is unjust and unfair, and that which is unlikely to change for the better any time soon. A certain amount of this is instructive and necessary, but in excessive quantity the resulting stress and pressure remove the fun of life and blogging. Though a part of me likes to play the part of the activist and feels obliged to decry the wrongs of the universe in an effort to set them right, I've come to understand this morning that I've crossed the threshold from purpose to pain. Blogging is, after all, supposed to be fun and instead it's been transformed to a guaranteed non-stop bummer trip.
This post is partially prompted by a friend who, seeing me with a smile on my face, while I was chuckling at some private joke over dinner Friday night, said quite pointedly--I can't remember the last time I saw you smile. As I paused to reflect upon what he said, I had to admit that it had certainly been many months since I'd found much humor in anything except for the dark variety. Lately I've found myself in a groove of gallows humor or snarky satire, the kind which is only amusing at all because its very premise is so bleak, grim, and above all, deadly serious. Today was the first time I laughed at something charmingly amusing and innocently humorous, the way humor should be, and not a derivative of sarcasm or mean-spirited banter masquerading as amusement. Laughing is something I think we all might consider doing more of more often. If life is always unpleasant--little more than an ordeal, then what's the point of living?