a new life narrative

Six weeks our guardsman walked the yard,
In a suit of shabby grey:
His cricket cap was on his head,
And his step seemed light and gay,
But I never saw a man who looked
So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every wandering cloud that trailed
Its raveled fleeces by.

He did not wring his hands, as do
Those witless men who dare
To try to rear the changeling Hope
In the cave of black Despair:
He only looked upon the sun,
And drank the morning air.

He did not wring his hands nor weep,
Nor did he peek or pine,
But he drank the air as though it held
Some healthful anodyne;
With open mouth he drank the sun
As though it had been wine!

And I and all the souls in pain,
Who tramped the other ring,
Forgot if we ourselves had done
A great or little thing,
And watched with gaze of dull amaze
The man who had to swing.

And strange it was to see him pass
With a step so light and gay,
And strange it was to see him look
So wistfully at the day,
And strange it was to think that he
Had such a debt to pay.

I’ve been finding it hard to post or talk online lately, at least to any coherent degree, and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m more involved in my real life or because I’m just burnt out.

I’ve been busy getting started with work over the last few weeks, and have been at a power utility this week. In fact, I’m at the airport on my way home right now, catching up on everything that’s been happening on the internet. Northern California was a lot different in environment than the few other places I’d been on the West Coast- beautiful trees and flowers, brown and dusty mountains, and a lot of stucco. But the traffic and all the highways weren’t very appealing. It’s crazy how much of a place you can see from Google maps satellite and street view. It has a different feeling from simply looking at static pictures of San Jose. I wonder if there’s a way to dynamically street view an entire route, so that you can see the road progress on a route that you’d take.

Last weekend I went to a retreat for people who had left Christianity, and I am still processing thoughts about it. Any announcements of deconversion were met with a whimper rather than a bang, and I was less pleased with that then one might expect. It occurs to me that there was probably no reason for a bang. I thought it might indicate interest, or at least curiosity, if not caring. My new life needs a new life narrative.

There’s been some recent drama about the extent of friendship with people who have talked online in a group with one another for many years, but mostly have no other or little other interaction. I can see it both ways. On one hand, I’ve spent a lot of time talking with people online who I’d not otherwise have been able to meet. I’ve met several people IRL after being part of online forums with them. When I passed my actuarial exam a few months ago and mentioned it on Facebook, every person who responded was someone I’d initially met online. Sometimes I wonder why I haven’t been able to keep up a similar online correspondance with more friends from my past, especially those who are on Facebook. When I do stay in touch with a few people, it’s usually a one-on-one situation, whereas most the people I talk to frequently are on a group message board. I can see how it would be more difficult to keep track of emailing several individuals nearly every day, rather than posting an update that several interconnected people can respond to at once.

OTOH, I admitted that the personal lives of my online friends rarely elicit a lot of thought from me when I’m not online myself. I will consider it a positive thing to spend more time going out with local friends, becoming active in local activities, or traveling on work assignments, instead of spending so much time chatting online. It doesn’t mean that I think the real people who’ve become online friends are less worthy of time, caring, and attention, but those interactions aren’t a substitute for going out and doing things with other people, and the group dynamic isn’t a substitute for having personal conversations with one person.


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