Having It All on Any Given Wednesday Afternoon

Even if one has it ALL, is ALL enough to fill an ordinary day

Having It All on Any Given Wednesday Afternoon

Having It All on Any Given Wednesday Afternoon

The sensible Southern writer and philosopher Walker Percy while extensively and presciently musing on the modern malaise of man wrote the following: “But something is wrong…He has settled everything except what it is to live as an individual. He still has to get through an ordinary Wednesday afternoon. . . . What does this man do with the rest of the day? The rest of his life?”

Even if one has it ALL, is ALL enough to fill an ordinary day, such as on any given Wednesday afternoon?

I was prodded by a remembrance of when I thought I had it ALL while reading this Wednesday’s email linking to an article by Carl Olson, “Suicide and Secularism on a Wednesday Afternoon,” as posted on the Imaginative Conservative—a daily, philosophy-exploring breath of weighty air.

Olson was ruminating on the recent suicide of twenty-seven-year-old Tara Condell, a successful Manhattan dietitian. Her final note—prior to hanging herself—records her decade-long despair with despair, “I have accepted hope is nothing more than delayed disappointment, and I am just plain old-fashioned tired of feeling tired.”

This breaks my heart; I’ve been there, and I possessed more than an existential hope, yet relying on the numberless temporal pleasures afforded to mankind is not enough to overcome deep-seated anguish unconnected to the transcendental.

Wise King Solomon noted in his Proverbs, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.

In “The Shawshank Redemption,” Andy Dufresne played by Tim Robbins advised Morgan Freeman’s character: “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

Once upon a time, I thought I had it ALL, or at least enough to satiate a simple, philosophically minded, dangerously introspective Southern Boy. For one singular, memorable, concrete moment in time; I concluded that I had it ALL. Yet, ALL wasn’t enough, nor does it adequately fill the imponderable void in one’s chest on any given Wednesday afternoon!

ALL consisted of a wife who I thought loved me; four beautiful, bright, healthy, joyful children; a bevy of close friends; an enjoyable vocation as a teacher; and my own humble home in a state boasting almost 300 days of sunshine a year—a sure antidote for seasonal affectation! Hey man, life was nothing short of a dozen briny oysters and they were all mine! Oysters do “go bad,” you know!

Not only did I have ALL of the above, but I was enjoying Christmas vacation on the California Coast, staying at an incredible inn, our kids were being cared for by in-laws a couple hours away, we had just eaten an incredible meal and drank a $100 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, then made love starting in a private hot tub, and postcoitus I read a book in a luxurious bed and slept like men do when we possess ALL!

I woke up depressed as hell! Why? I had it ALL and it wasn’t enough! Oh, I knew the Lord, had a theology degree, yada, yada, yada, but ALL the temporal, sensuous and sensual pleasures ain’ enough to fill the vacuous, and I knew it right then! Cupidity fulfilled left me empty; I had pinnacled with pleasure and yet remained unfulfilled!

I needed more than ALL, simply defined for me as a dynamic relationship with my higher power, the Judeo-Christian God who created me, sustains me, and is my only hope to combat the materialistic ALL ardently pursued by most of mankind!

I am an addict by nature, meaning I have an addictive personality. I daily deal with what is often referred to as a “disease of more!” The more I pursue more, the more I need more, which for a metaphysical certitude results in more not being enough, even if it results in ALL. Suffice it to say, all the wealth of Croesus, plus all the collective hedonistic pleasures I could possibly desire while cruising on this short ride we call life, still ain’ enough without spiritual fulfillment, pursued daily.

Even la dolce vita, the good life, is not a talisman against pain, anguish, hardship, and surely doesn’t inoculate against death! The Second Law of Thermal Dynamics comes for all—entropy its final call, and all things die—but hope kept alive, hope found in something beyond ourselves, is the only hope for curing the hollowness of ALL. It sure as hell will help on any given Wednesday afternoon, when we think we have it ALL.

Cheers! Slim Gravy

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Comments

  1. C. Vanalstyne says:

    Billy, thank you for your writings. Every time I read anything you have written, my Words With Friends score goes up. Much obliged.

    • BILLY HOWELL says:

      Wow! Thank you for your encouraging words! Seriously, they really bless me and thank you for reading the Delta Bohemian! Cheers! Billy ❤️😃

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