Just finished reading David Bergen’s book, ‘The Matter With Morris.’ The main character, Morris Schutts, is having a sort of mid-life crisis after his son dies. He’s questioning the choices he’s made in life and is seeing a Psychiatrist who gives him this answer to his doubts:
“Wouldn’t it be interesting,” he said, “if there could be many Morris Schutts, and you would all live different lives. And at the end, just before you died, you gathered together, flew in from different parts of the world, met in a gentlemen’s club perhaps, and there put forth an argument as to which of you had had the best life. The aesthete, though poor, would argue that beauty had augmented his life; the fornicator would extol bodily pleasure; the millionaire would maintain that money had not only extended his life, it had made him happy; the bum would say that he had never worried about the getting and keep ing of currency, and so he was the freest; the Morris who had committed murder and spent years in prison would say that because he had fallen so far, he was most aware of grace; the religious Morris would claim that his treasures were laid up in heaven; the faithful Morris, the good husband and father, would claim that he had lived authentically and passed on the passion for the best life to his children. And so on. In then end, though, what you would all be claiming is that the beneficial is fair and the harmful is ugly. But, Morris, what is beneficial and what is harmful? You have only one life. You must choose.” (The Matter With Morris, P. 199)
I guess I resonate with this quote. There’s so many ways to live a life. I wish there was more than one way. But there’s not. We kind of choose. I think of the Bruce Cockburn song, “Tie Me At The Crossroads.” Perhaps I feel like that a lot of the times. Life is hard to balance. There is a cost and a benefit to every life, every decision, every dream. I sacrifice myself, my family, my dreams, my future, my fulfillment — there’s something on every side. I don’t like this. I wish we could live many lives. Perhaps I think that some sort of integration is actually possible. How? I don’t know. There’s a book title waiting to be written: “The Integrated Life.” I’ll keep you posted on how the writing is going.