It's been a busy Friday, and I haven't had much time at all to post. I'm still thinking about modesty and responsibility, mind you, though I promise to be on to different topics next week.
Despite the heat, I'm moving back into one of those phases of my life where I'm exercising more and paying more attention to my diet. Whether it's based on bad science or not, I'm doing well on the "eating for your blood type" regimen.. I feel stronger and leaner; I've cut most refined sugars and most white flour out of my diet. I wasn't eating meat to begin with, so that sacrifice is not significant. But I am eating lots of beans and rice cakes and peanut butter and dried pineapple. Fear not, my diet is more diverse than that -- but those have recently become some of my staples.
I realize that one of the things that makes my blog tiresome to read is that I'm so obviously a self-improvement junkie. (I indeed do belong in Los Angeles!) I've married a woman who happily shares my interest in ongoing transformation, and together, we get a lot done. In a way, we're distinctly immodest: we're addicted to more! Not more things, of course, but "more better".
Yes, I'm deeply interested in being as physically healthy as I possibly can; I like following a healthy and even strict diet and working out daily. I want to find my optimum level of fitness; I want my body to be as strong (and yes, as aesthetically pleasing) as possible. But I'm also interested in becoming an ever-better teacher; I fiddle with syllabi and with lectures, always looking to see what can be done to improve my work. I want to be a better husband; I am eager to become a more complete, caring, loving, partner and spouse to my wife. I want to be a more effective community volunteer; I want to rescue more chinchillas, I want to reach more kids in my youth group. I want to write books, and at long last, am close to starting on that process. I want to make more money, and give more of it away.
I justify the amount of time I spend on improving my fitness by saying I work equally hard on teaching, my volunteering, and my marriage. But does an increase in generosity in one area of one's life justify an increased self-absorption in another?
When Christ came into my life, He came into the life of an addict. Addiction, at its core, is about desire -- and for as long as I can remember, I've had an abundance of that! For things good and bad -- drugs/women/faster marathon times/success/weight loss/greater spiritual awareness/greater opportunity to serve/what-have-you -- my life from adolescence on has been about pushing for "more." And that essential part of my nature hasn't changed since I became a Christian. I've switched addictions, mind you! I've replaced self-destruction with self-improvement, and I confess that my commitment to the latter is almost as off-putting to some as the former!
It's an old story, and my narrative is hardly a unique one. But to friends, family, students, colleagues and strangers who read this blog regularly, let me take this opportunity to acknowledge that I can be an exhausting and exasperating man to be around, learn from, and read. I'd say that I'm genuinely sorry, but I am not repentant about my fascination with stronger, farther, faster, better. But I do sympathize with your annoyance.
I have a feeling that when, deo volente, we have children, lots of this will change.