Friday, September 9, 2011

All I Got to Do

I have a dear friend who is in despair because she thinks her life is pointless, without any larger overarching purpose, not lived in the service of anything that matters. This has been making me think about what the point and purpose of my own life is. I've decided that it's just to love the world as fully and fiercely as I can.

"What!" I can hear my friend moaning. "What good is THAT?"

In George Eliot's Middlemarch, the character Ladislaw thinks this has a point. He says, "The best piety is to enjoy - when you can. You are doing the most then to spare the earth's character as an agreeable planet. And enjoyment radiates. It is of no use to try and take care of all the world; that is being taken care of when you feel delight - in art or in anything else."

I think Ladislaw is right. Delight does radiate. Ever since I've come to Indiana, I've loved everything about Greencastle, DePauw University, and the Prindle Institute for Ethics so openly and extravagantly that more than one person has thanked me for letting them see their familiar world with renewed appreciation. I'm helping them to love it better, too. That isn't nothing. Right this minute it feels as if it's everything.

I'll close with quoting another George who affirms this, too. In "Blow Away," my favorite George song ever (well, second only to "Here Comes the Sun"), he writes "All I got to do is to love you. All I got to be is be happy."

That's the song I'm singing to the world right now.

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