overhaul / undertow

Monday, July 22, 2002

I read a quote by Mother Teresa, saying "We can do no great things. Only small things, with great love."

I think I've been living my whole life wrong, because all my life I've felt inadequate for not yet doing "great things." And when I sit myself down and try to think of what could possibly satisfy me in the "great things" department--like, what I could do that would be enough--I can't think of a damn thing short of saving the galaxy. And even that wouldn't be enough because, well, it would probably be forgotten in a few hundred years or so. Historical / mythologized figures like Siddartha, Jesus, Bodhidharma et al., they have a measure of immortality in that they are still remembered--in a way--but even these great religions of our age will pass. And I'm sitting there thinking this and I realize that I'm asking myself to outstrip the most important people and deeds of recorded human history in order to be "enough." I even sat there thinking about Mother Teresa's words and how in the light of what I really ought to be accomplishing, she's a bit of a slacker.

What on earth am I doing to myself, comparing myself to Mother Teresa, to the epic heroes in the stupid fantasy books I read when I was eleven years old, to Joan of Arc, to Mata Hari? Always demanding that my life be epic, an engaging narrative full of drama, whoops, don't let it get dull, or this will be a boring book to read!

What a way to set oneself up for miserable failure.

And then I stopped myself and realized how awful this is--to go through every day of my life telling myself that unless I do the impossible, I'm worthless. Useless. A blip in the cosmos. Less than a blip.

I guess I'm not searching so much for something relevant to do as I am looking for a reason to live.


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