A little more navel-gazing

An article in our local free newspaper caught my eye this morning. Father Lou Guntzelman, a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, writes, 

“None of us ever reach our full potential. At the most, some estimate we only actualize 20 percent of it. There is something inherently noxious in stepping back too far from life. The popularity of reality TV shows, the legions of pornographic voyeurs and couch potaties indicate, however, that it may be happening to a significant number of people.           

In so doing, we take ourselves out of life and become distant spectators. Eventually, life ceases to matter very much or we envy those we watch…”

I’d add that the popularity of blogging speaks to this tendency as well.  Even though blogging is fun and fulfilling, it can also be overwhelming. Sitting at my laptop, working to get my thoughts and feelings down into words, I can easily become so wrapped up in what’s happening on my screen that I tune out what is happening all around me.

And it doesn’t take much for the world of blogging to seep out around the edges. Instead of simply sitting down, writing a post, and clicking “Publish,” I begin to check in on the blogs of friends daily. Then I might start to check out their ads, or their blogrolls, or the products they recommend. Then I may find something like the Fall Y’all giveaways, and stay up until midnight entering contests on over 600 blogs. {ahem}

There’s a line in “You’ve Got Mail,” when Meg Ryan’s character voice-overs her written reflection that “So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?” Sometimes, that happens to me with blogs. I’ll sit at the dinner table with my husband and son and relate a story I read over at Girl’s Gone Child that day. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t I be blogging about something that happened in my real life?

Fr. Guntzelman wrapped up his article by saying,

“Yet, even in our ordinary lives, we can find more passion for life and courageously make our way forward on the rope across the abyss. …Moving ahead on our own path of life doesn’t mean pursuing illusions or impractical childish wishes. No, it doesn’t mean now’s the time to become a ballerina, an FBI agent or movie star. What, then, are we to do to become more passionately engaged with our own lives?

…Having a passion for life means becoming enthralled with what God has given us, but which we’ve overlooked. It means to wake up and appreciate nature, the earth, others, and especially ourselves. Growth and awareness are our calling.”

Growth and awareness. It’s easy to turn those into mere buzzwords of a pop psychology-crazed culture. But I’m not looking for the Dr. Phil Guide to the Universe. I sincerely want to understand how to synthesize all these seemingly disparate parts of my day. I have these “real-life” interactions with friends, with family, with my toddler and my husband, with strangers at the mall. I have these aha! moments with books or articles I read, television I watch, stories I hear. And I have the blogosphere – vast and beckoning. So what do you do with all of those parts? What does growth & awareness look like?

My passion for life can so easily be distracted. It becomes a passion for BLOGS! or SCRAPBOOKS! or SEWING! or MOMMY&ME! or TODDLER ART PROJECTS! or NEW RECIPES! or SLEEPING! to the exclusion of anything else. So for me, I think it’s the way I bring each part into the others – but only so far as it builds on, adds to, supports, challenges. When any part begins to take over, so that I can only see or hear or think about that – I know I have gone too far.


 Care to share what your passion for life looks like? How do you fight the urge to become a passive bystander in your own story?


3 Responses to A little more navel-gazing

  1. Mrs. Chicken says:

    Oddly enough, I blog to be less passive. Huh. Wonder what that says about me?

  2. I don’t know what I do half the time. I get distracted by everything.

  3. fizzledink says:

    Okay, okay…. so maybe it’s just me.

    *snort* There goes that brilliant theory…

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