Sucking all the Marrow Out

The day stretches out before us.  I can let it happen to me, or I can seek out the complexity in common moments.  Complexity refers to many parts in an intricate arrangement.  If you can find this particular arrangement, you can suddenly understand something differently and more deeply.  There’s complexity in this piece of toast, this cup of coffee, this orange.

People have said I think too much.  

A fellow faculty member and I commiserated yesterday that students like to say:  “But why does it have to mean anything?  It ruins our enjoyment when we have to analyze stuff.  Can’t we just enjoy the story?”   I think we confuse complexity with unnecessary complication or confusion.  We think complexity means we shroud something in difficulty.  But this isn’t the case.  Finding patterns, connections, and symbols unlocks this whole other world–this whole other subtext–that makes a text (or a life) so rich and beautiful.

Examining life for all its complexity pours a warm syrup over our day that makes it good.  We begin to see spiritual truth in the tiny, mundane thing.  We see God reaching out to us from the confines of a bedroom or a minivan or a rocking chair.  There’s a message inside of everything confronting us.

Why not live a complex life?  Socrates cries out:  “The unexamined life is not worth living,” just as Thoreau fears that “he would come to die and find that [he] had not lived.”  He famously commands himself to “live deep and suck all the marrow out of life.” 

Marrow, after all, is the choicest, inmost, essential part of a thing.  There’s marrow in this day, and for me, it’s whatever trace of God’s beauty and goodness I can find and suck out. 

(Special thanks to Charity G.and Gigi M. for inspiring this post.)

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  1. Thank you for your continual encouragement to open my eyes and see what is going on in my world…to find the marvelous in the mundane.

  2. Thanks, Charity and Bali! That's wonderful to have a visitor from Indonesia! Very flair!

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