Note from CM: One of the blogs I turn to regularly is The Christian Monist. J. Michael Jones always writes interesting and insightful posts, and I want to pass one of them on to you today. Some day I will do some writing about Woody Allen, who has been one of my favorite writers and filmmakers for many years, but today I will pass along what JMJ says about him.
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A Celestial Dis-satisfaction in a Satisfied Pretense . . . Where Mick meets Woody
by John Michael Jones
So here’s the problem. Everything is going great! Life is swell! Honestly. I have all I need. My kids have turned out well. My mother is living longer than the average person. I live in the place I’ve always wanted to live in. My health, while not perfect, is pretty good. I lack nothing. So what am I bitching about?
I’ve tried and I’ve tried but I can’t get no satisfaction. But Woody said it best. He delivered the words that I could not find. While I question his personal choices in life, I admire his candor.
In an interview with Woody Allen about two years ago he made an uncanny remark. He said that his life had been perfect. He got do fulfill all his dreams. Here he was a homely-looking, short man with all kinds of limitations but was blessed, often by being the right place at the right time, to make movies, to be a professional musician, to have more money than he can spend and to make love to all kinds of beautiful women . . . far beyond his physical class. Yet . . . he felt this deep disappointment in life. He added that he wasn’t mad at anybody nor did he feel any injustice . . . but just deeply dissatisfied.
I know what he means. Now this is where I will give Woody some words. Not that he could have conjugated better sentences than me but during that interview he expressed that he didn’t know why. I think he does because he is quite a philosophical guy but just didn’t want to say it.
I’ve thought about this a lot. No, I’m not depressed right now. I am disappointed. I’m not disappointed at God or man (as far as I know).
The thing that disappoints me is the loss that comes with life. I’ve lost my dad. I’m losing my mom, whose memory is fading right before my eyes. I’ve lost my kids . . . to good things, like careers and distance. I’ve lost my youth. I’ve lost countless friends . . . most by moving, many by my leaving evangelism and a scant few by death. Of course the great loss will be my own life, which is inevitable.
If I tried to even think these thoughts outside my own head in the middle of an evangelical Sunday school class, it would be immediately scolded. Christians, after all, are to be satisfied. Anything less means that they are not pleased with God . . . such thoughts deserves the fires of Hell . . . or do they?
But I know God differently now. This isn’t elementary school anymore of pretending on the playground. There are big thoughts out there and God is the hyper-adult. I think that the dissatisfaction is intended. The only thing that could possibly fix it lies within the great unknown on the other side of life.
The fixing isn’t having more positive thoughts. The fixing isn’t filling your cranial space with praises of God, like inflating a balloon inside a bottle, so that no negative thought would ever have the space to enter your mind. I think that God wants it to go unfixed. The dissatisfaction leaves this bad taste that is always in your mouth that nothing, including Evangelicalism’s positive thinking, can purge. It makes me long for some type of remedy . . . something so amazing and satisfying that I can’t even imagine it.
So we can still live happily (as happy as any human can be), I think, while embracing the celestial dissatisfaction.