The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Sacrifice to Improve

A theological aspect of Lent that I hold great respect for is in the idea of making sacrifices as a means to learn to improve. One does this as a means to change and become a better, stronger, more helpful person.

Sometimes I feel that my life has been adequate in terms of service. I am a professor, a person whose primary work responsibilities revolve around serving others and serving "the greater good". As a father, I believe I have taken my role of service seriously and have attempted to be a strong guide, a reassuring and coaxing presence to help my children be happy and to become themselves a part of the effort to promote the "greater good". As a husband, I believe I have been a help and a facilitator in my wife's life and helped her to attain her goals. And, as a son, I believe I have been able to be a kind son who has been of service to my mother (and previously to my father).

Yet, there are other times where I feel I am not even close to being adequate in terms of service. And, even if I were "adequate", is "adequate" all I should strive for? Can I have any value or meaning in my life if I am simply striving to attain "adequacy"? I believe there are many days when I do not even come close to that pitiful level of attainment that is "adequate".

Although not the only way I strive to become more capable, more available for service.... my refraining from my beloved pipes represents one such way I am actively trying to reach and stretch myself into being better. I am not "quitting" my indulgence in my pipes (although I *may* never smoke them again), for I am a true, dyed-in-the-wool pipe smoker and fan. I feel the hobby is beautiful, and artistic, grand, philosophical, and nearly spiritual. Instead, I am simply *not indulging* in that hobby I so embrace. There is a difference between "quitting" and "not indulging". I am not a quitter, for I refuse to quit something I see as so valuable and beautiful. Instead, by "not indulging" I am still a part of the "club" part of the group of kindred spirits who see that artistic merit, that beauty, that charm.



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