Friday, March 28, 2014

Death of an Ambition Salesman

   Those unwholesome fellows, the ambition salesmen, I tell you, they are over-running our landscape! These guys may appear to be "wholesome", (to some observers) but in my opinion; they are at best, overly wholesome. For instance, would it seem wholesome (to you), for me to begin talking about my "one great ambition in life"? Just how sharp are your listening skills anyhow? Not trying especially to sound harsh over here, but aren't you (be truthful) not too awfully interested in my version of that particular discourse? These excessively wholesome chaps, these ambition salesmen (mere motivational speakers!) are giving off a false aroma, and that smell, like that of excessive righteousness, is something we can do nicely without. This fixation of theirs upon "dreams and ambition" are things recommended for you, but not for me! It is lopsided; it is one-legged, in that your ambition is supposed to be a thing for you to cultivate, while simultaneously, that very thing, (your ambition) is a thing for me to ignore, as you blather on about it! The premise then, of those "ambition salesmen" out there, is that your (mine actually) "one ambition in life", your "dream for the future", is a thing to cherish, to fuss over, to guard! These sales folk teach that we are to focus upon, to recall, to fix our attention, and if you didn't get any of that, to PAY ATTENTION! our "dream", a.k.a. our "one ambition". Failure to heed their warnings could well lead to (horrors!) unhappiness, or even worse (if that is even possible) unfulfillment! Is there a problem here? Well, for one thing, and I don't mean to sound rude, but if it is just a matter of you, talking about your one ambition, I (for one) would make a very poor listener; for the simple reason, that I don't care! And not to purposely attempt to sound harsh over here, but I suspect that it is much the same for you. You might for instance, like to discuss your dream, and you (perhaps) might also care to ruminate upon your central life ambition, but for me to have to listen to that stuff is a serious yawner. I can barely stay awake when you start in on that junk. Further, my guess is that for you (likewise), listening to me is hard sledding indeed, and you can barely tolerate hearing mine. So why are we doing we do this to each other anyhow?
   Ambition salesmen aside for the moment, it becomes clear right away, that there are "blocks" in us, and we are naturally or generally, hesitant and reluctant to deal with ambition and dream. We have to be "sold" on it, or else we ourselves will damp down, or even prohibit such talk. Further, the dreadfully careful-care and management of "dream" (itself) is to take a large chunk of your brain space, in that you are "supposed" to focus your attention upon these internal things. Otherwise, you might have been directed outwardly, into your natural interests in life? So, besides being hard to listen to, it is a tax upon your own energy, and you must (must?) repeatedly reapply yourself to it? "Must", or else what? What exactly is the "threat" here? Worst possible scenario of all, if we mock and deride the ambition sales force, and ignore their excited, and enthused demands; our dream...could very well die!
   So, let's go about this backward eh? Why not just begin this topic with a description, and an endorsement of the death of my one ambition in life, shall we? Them Baptists are on a roll, and are often in the habit of singing songs to the effect; "All on the altar I lay". Unseemly Newsflash, this just in! "Things found on altars, are dead". So then, we propose in this C.P.E., the death of ambition, the demise of dream, so to hereby leave off of my fascination with that unattainable "happy, fulfilled, prosperity" in any case. Our Baptist friends, in "laying down their all", for Jesus' sake, are laying it down, as the new reality. We would do well to study, and copy a play or two out of their book.
   The ambition sellers constantly talk about ambition as if it were a good thing, to have it loafing around the house, drinking beer, and eating leftovers. The marketers in question would even go so far to help you feel bad about not having this loudmouth on the couch, making his "demands and priorities". The fat old slob of my ambition, although he does not work, does frequently issue orders. And though he requires constant maintenance, and is always asking for loans that he will repay "someday", I am somehow "required" by ambition salesmen to keep this creep in my life? So says experts.
   Ambition is that thing you are pointing at, with your life energy, and yet never openly discuss. In this sense then, it is a vacuum of some sort, a variety of infinite longing. Basically then, within us, we have (or are?) a large hole, and it is one which by definition, cannot be satisfied. There ain't enough junk in the sidereal universe to "fill us up". Why not just admit it? Unspoken ambition was to have been your "ticket out". Out of what precisely, does it so deliver? Boredom perhaps(?), or poverty was it(?), maybe in your case it is mediocrity(?), the "dream" was to cure? You tell me. On second thought, don't! We have already decided I didn't want to hear that jazz. How about we just kill it? In any case, your ambition was the thing which was designed to "set you (not me!) apart". As such, it is a little bit like holiness, except upside down.
   This wanting in you was to be the one fix, that one thing which was to cure you, and it was going to reorganize every aspect of your life. Troubles are (ostensibly) over, you on easy street! The tiny little glitch, the one baby sized hiccup here, is that the ambition cannot make itself come into being. Secondarily, every single time that we attempt to make the thing exist, this wild (officially "unexpected") blow-back appears. All sorts unpredicted side effects, accidents, and weird flukes begin to manifest. Words like "unforeseen and unfortunate" are heard all too often. The harder and more diligently you apply yourself to "dream", to "ambition", the more singlemindedly we ambit, the weirder and "unluckier" things seem to get. Ambition-dream is just "there" in our lives, like a noisy vagrant. We cannot "make it happen" (that dream I mean) and the higher our diligence in trying to switch this thing on, the more bizarre and unwelcome the manifestations which just keep "showing up" in our lives.
   We infer here that the human heart, as a plumbing schematic, is a "replacement flow" type design. What we require is a new heart, not a reversal of direction of blood flow! We must replace what we love, not with an "unlove", but a better and cleaner delight. We love "dream" because it vaguely reminds us of "something". It hints at a loftiness, a grandeur and dignity that we barely recall. Or is it correct to say "recall" in the first place? Would "anticipate" serve us better here? But, at any rate, the sheer inaccessibility, the unreachable nature of ambition should be taken as "the real". Try as ever hard as you may (and can!), and the lesson remaining is that; we are to die! So we willingly reorient so to die-to our goals, and dreams.
   One poor wretched Man, alone on a miserable hilltop. He dies to all the claims, charms and attractions that exist. On the other side of that colossal failure, He is brought back alive! Now the Inheritor of all, the Governor General of "Is", is He! He, of all who "could have" done so, did not "hang onto the dream". He died to it, and with it.
   Our one ambition gets "subsumed and gathered" under the realm of King Jesus the Resurrected. That naked miserable suffering Man becomes (for us) a far far greater treasure than all the junk that the fat slob of our worldly desire could ever hope to equal. We ordinarily do not speak of our ambition. After all, what if we end up sounding silly? We might embarrass ourselves, or others. So, silently then, and out of the darkness it (our "dream" I mean); directs. An agent in (and of?) the dark, it guides, persistently unwilling to reveal it's face. We die to our faceless ambition, turning away; not from heart at center, but from instead that old-heart which was at center.
   That bloody battered Hillbilly, that deeply sad lonesome Man, it is He whom we love. With new hearts we love better, stonger and higher we could have ever loved the slob, "ambition". This One's face too is hidden, but not because He dwells in darkness. Rather, it is hidden amid the glare, the intolerably bright brilliance proceeding from Him. He too bold, too great ever for us (unaided) to view, and it is just this failure in us...He is busy amending as we speak! His ambition for me is better than my ambition for me. The rule of faith is that we say "yes-Sir" in the midst of our shame and loss. Not "at the top" do we meet Him, but at our lowest, there we find Him waiting!

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