Thirty-four hours, in a packed car, with a large dog in the passenger seat. That was the setting for the thoughts in this post.
With my belly full of waffles, I said goodbye to Portland and turned on an old favorite, Coldplay. I don’t know why, it just seemed right. I listened to a few songs, then a line came to the surface and punched me in the gut. “What good is it to live with nothing left to give?”
I didn’t stop the car, but I did stop the CD. I started thinking: What good is it to live with nothing left to give?
Is my life characterized by giving?
Do I have more to give?
Is my life worth living?
Right now, it would appear my life is worth living. I have everything to live for. I have a little daughter on the way. I have a pregnant wife that needs my love and assistance. I have moved back to my dearest friends and family. I am 24 years old with two-thirds of my life ahead of me. Yes, it’s worth living. It would also appear I have more to give. With a little girl on the way, I have time, affection, knowledge, money, and dignity to give (when I’m having my fingernails painted or my hair put in pigtails). I have those things to give in other relationships too, with my wife, with friends, with family. Yes, I have more to give.
But is my life characterized by giving?
No, it’s not. Sure I moved back to the Midwest for the sake of my wife and daughter. Sure I sacrificed writing opportunities, a degree, a few great friendships, and a church I absolutely loved in order to move back. Sure I’ve given money to people in need and to ministries I thought were worth supporting. But is my life characterized by giving? Is it full of giving? No. In all honesty, it is full of self-absorption. It is full of personal ambition. It is full of the desire for selfish gain.
It’s not that I’m some narcissistic pig. I don’t think most people would say I’m self-absorbed or overly ambitious or desiring gain. Those aren’t the first words that someone would use to describe me. However, I can almost guarantee “giving,” “self-sacrificial,” and “others-centered” would also not be among the first words someone would use to describe me.
So what am I saying? I’m saying I’m a self-obsessed dog. Not a narcissistic pig, but a self-obsessed dog. And what’s wrong with that?
Thankfully, I have everything left to give. And the more I give, the more I will live. Because living is giving.