I went shoe shopping this week. My three-year-old work shoes, trusty veterans of two New Hampshire winters, had six holes between the two of them, leaked in the rain, and were daily approaching solelessness. I hate shoe shopping because it's such a commitment, an expense, and such a necessity. I had one of those moments on the mall escalator, running finances in my head and making sure I could still go grocery shopping, buy shampoo and work out school expenses, where I thought, "Okay, guess what? Everything's okay. This will work out just fine. Relax." And then one of my least favorite songs in the whole wide world came on:
Here's the thing: this song summarizes everything about my generation that causes our parents to say, "Kids these days..." It embarrasses me. It makes me angry. It fills me with a sense of righteous indignation and a zeal to render swift justice to self-centered twenty-somethings who never left adolescence behind them. It makes me wish I were the sort of person who believed in standard castration of societal leeches. And yes, it makes me angry that he sits around not doing anything while I'm working a full-time job and still feeling guilty about spending money on a necessary pair of practical boring brown shoes.
"'Human beings do not live forever, Reuven. We live less than the time it takes to blink an eye, if we measure our lives against eternity. So it may be asked what value there is to a human life. There is so much pain in the world. What does it mean to have suffered so much if our lives are nothing more than the blink of an eye?' He paused again, his eyes misty now, then went on. 'I learned long ago, Reuven, that a blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing. But the man who lives that span, he is something. He can fill that tiny span with meaning, so its quality is immeasurable, though its quantity may be insignificant. Do you understand what I am saying? A man must fill his life with meaning; meaning is not automatically given to life. It is hard work to fill one's life with meaning. That I think you do not understand yet. A life filled with meaning is worthy of rest. I want to be worthy of rest when I am no longer here. Do you understand what I am saying? . . . Merely to live, merely to exist -- what sense is there in that? A fly also lives.'" -- The Chosen, ch. 13.Bruno Mars is a fly.