I’ve recently discovered podcasts. I mean, I’ve known that they are a thing for a while. I’ve known what they are. I just never listened to them. I was a hold-out on the whole “smart” phone thing. I liked having small phones that made calls and told me what time it was but didn’t do much else. Then I had a series of stupid “smart” phones that for various reasons didn’t do much good so I honestly never bothered to even try to listen to podcasts on them.
But now I can listen to podcasts and I do. I’ve been listening to the Robcast, which is basically Rob Bell, talking to people about spiritual things. In one of his recent series he talks with this guy, Pete Rollins, about love. One of the things they talk about is the idea that humans tend to think that they want certain things. They objectify those things. Maybe it’s a house. Maybe it’s a better job. Maybe it’s someone to love. Maybe it’s something else. But the idea is that there is this fantasy that a person imagines, in which a very specific set of things or circumstances happens which conspire to make them happy. Sometimes they get the very thing or things they are fantasizing about and, of course, they are not happy.
What we really want is the struggle for the thing we are fantasizing about, but we are so convoluted that we have to trick ourselves into struggling. We have to have a prize to strive for or we will just sit on the couch and eat stuff and drink stuff and become slobs while we watch television.
My own fantasy has always been that at some point I will have a life in which I have the freedom to sit in my studio all day long, writing songs and recording them. I will of course take long breaks to go walking in the woods, or maybe go fishing or cycling or some other such thing. I have no financial worries and I have a whole lot of time on my hands.
Mostly, I’ve never had that. I’ve always had a job and responsibilities and other realities of life to contend with. You know…like people.
Years ago when I was convincing myself to pursue music as a career, I did that mental exercise in which you ask yourself, “What would you do if you had millions of bucks and could do with your time whatever you wanted to do?” My answer has always revolved around the making of music. There’s another part to that mental exercise in which you ask yourself, “What activities do you do, in which you can totally get lost?” These days we call it “flow”. There are things that people do in which they reach a state of super productivity and that state is called flow. Time passes and things get done and then you look up are realize you missed lunch and you felt good about it. Again my answers to that question have always revolved around making music in some form.
So when some guy on some podcast said, “The thing we really want is the struggle.” I was skeptical. Obviously I don’t want the struggle. The struggle is the thing I want to avoid. I just want to be able to do what I want when I want to do it and I don’t want anything to stand in my way. Struggle is hard. Struggle is struggle. Why would I want that?
The answer lies in one of the definitions of love. To love something is to give your life to it. To do whatever it needs and wants. To make it happy at the expense of your own comfort and happiness even. In other words, to love something or someone, is to struggle for that thing or person.
The fantasy isn’t real. It probably won’t ever happen. If it did, it wouldn’t be like it is in my brain and even if it was, I would discover that there are things about the fantasy I never considered. Like boredom. Like taking all my time for granted and never actually entering the door to my studio because I have so much time. I think I just want to watch some Netflix. After all…there’s some snacks in the pantry and I’m not feeling very inspired right this second, so….. I’ll just do that another time.
But, as we all well know…The. Struggle. Is. Real. And it’s beautiful! I can’t have my fantasy for real, maybe. But I can have the struggle. In fact I have the struggle. I have it. Now. It’s mine. I get to keep it.
So when I say I love music, all I’m really saying is that I tend to give my life over to the struggle of making it. When I can’t figure out Pro Tools or when I can’t figure out the chords to this song, or when I have nothing to write about, I struggle. Somehow I keep coming back to it and doing it again. I guess I don’t mind the struggle. I guess the struggle really is what I want.
You’re probably done reading and I’m done explaining so I’m not going to tell you how this song relates to this post. You’re just going to have to listen to it and figure it out. You can have that struggle. It’s my gift to you. Just trust me. It relates. It’s the whole thing. It’s just different.
We only get one life. We all have struggles. Struggle is it. Learn to enjoy the struggle. That’s the point.Share on Facebook