Friday, August 6, 2010

My Special Purpose

I’ve begun to suspect that either our goals or our evaluation standards may be flawed. When you are looking to clear out the house and get really excited about going through two old bottles from the liquor cabinet, has your eye slipped off the prize? Why is now the time to finish off what hasn’t earned the touch of my tongue since my bachelor days? I’ve got bottles of booze in there from 15 years ago. If I didn’t drink it back then, what is going to appeal about some mystery blue liqueur now?

Maybe that’s it: we’re separating the grain from the gross. Tonight we just finished off a bottle of decent tequila and a bottle of Cointreau, both of which had just splashes left. The kids are going to their grandparents this entire coming week, though, and I wonder what wickedness may come if we start out a week without children thinking we need to thin the booze herd. This is our week to get things done, so a little focus is required.

I may just be having a little short-timers guilt. I haven’t (yet) become completely useless at work, knowing I have no responsibility to the job in 11 weeks. And I own this job anyway, so I’m actually working harder now to try to get things in shape for my replacement. But I realized the other day that I’ve been fantasizing about leisure. I will learn Spanish in a hammock. I will learn guitar by a river. I will spend hours a day cooking with my wife. I will play with my children to exhaustion.

And no matter what else the angel on my shoulder says, I will continue to have lustful thoughts of leisure. But I’ve been realizing that this trip is primarily to give our children perspective on our culture at home, and get lessons in life that they might not otherwise get at home. So we don’t want to be teaching our children that leisure is the ultimate objective of life, or that you can give up work and responsibility to get it.

I assume that I, possibly we, will get engaged in the community in more than a social way. But what is to ensure that? That is, what will we end up doing without having some explicit purpose to this adventure?

Di’s mom suspects we are doing this to scratch our own travel itch, and not for the beneficent and patronly reasons we believe. And if we do launch without first having set our minds to some expectation of what we get out of this, then she may turn out to be right.
Now, just where is that special purpose?

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